The child walks into the ER with tears, clutching his arm. He’s doing his best not to look at it, but the problem is easily evident with the deformity of it.
He’s one of many as springtime weather arrives. Trampolines, skateboards and bikes come out in eager anticipation of the new season, along with their propensity for injury.
After a trip to xray and back, the extent of the problem is revealed. With the help of some sedating medication, and extra hands, we help align the crooked limb back into place, holding it tightly, wrapping it with a colorful cast.
If they don’t require surgery, they’ll leave the ER with a sticker and a stuffy, with the plan of returning in a week or two for more xrays, to assess how the bone is healing. With kids, it’s pretty quick, a couple weeks compared to the longer healing of an adult bone. It takes time for healing to take place, for growth to happen, to strengthen the broken bone.
Just as fractured bones need intervention for proper healing, so do our hearts. Yet, in order to find healing, we need to discover the problem and understand the treatment.
Diagnosing the Problem
When part of an arm is pointing in the wrong direction, there’s not much doubt about the presence of a serious problem. Whether we struggle to admit it or not, the presence of sin in our lives is nothing short of resistance toward God.
Albert Mohler writes that, our “sin amounts to nothing less than a desire for God to cease being God.”  When his good creation abandoned the instruction given them in the garden, the desire to become like God governed their choices, and sin became entrenched in our hearts.
Understanding the full weight and gravity of our sin is important. We want to push this truth aside, because we feel shame, humiliation and weakness. But “without grasping our need and the gravity of our sin, we will never understand the truly insatiable beauty of what it means for our sins to be forgiven” .
Think of the adulterous woman who anointed Jesus’ feet and washed them with her hair, Jesus tells them, “he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47). While our pride keeps us from acknowledging our shortcomings, our temptations and sinful inclinations, our willingness to confess our sins openly to the Lord helps us learn to love him more for all that he has forgiven and rescued us from.
What sin in your life do you need to confess and repent of?
Aligning into Position
Placing askew bones back into the right position, is the first step toward correct healing. If left misaligned, the body will still try to strengthen the break, however the proper use and function of the limb will diminish.
The fracture of sin requires setting. As eager as we are to accomplish this on our own through acting ‘good enough’ and living morally, it is “by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works” (Eph 2:8-9).
RC Sproul teaches us “the whole process by which we are made right with God in justification rests on the work of Jesus through His life, His death, and His resurrection” . Jesus endured scorn and suffering in order to reconcile us with the Father, to make a way for us to be restored. It is his gift, his offering that paid the price of our sin.
When we love and follow Jesus, we are trusting in his sacrifice for our sin; that we are not able to save ourselves, but through him we are seated in forgiveness, without condemnation, “so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).
How have you tried trusting in yourself rather than on God?
The Joy Before Us
The broken bones can’t stay straightened without help. Casting material is wrapped around the limb to secure it’s position and healing.
Having found our rescue in Christ, we remain confident of our position in Him, yet find we continue to face the daily struggle of sin. This is part of our healing that continues during the time we are given until he will gloriously return to make all things new.
In the words of John Piper, the work of Christ “creates a people who enjoy treasuring the glory of Christ above all and enjoy being transformed into Christ’s glorious image” . This becomes our journey; continuing to heal, to grow and become people of Christ’s likeness.
It was for the joy set before him, that Christ endured the cross (Heb 12:2), as a model for us in our own walk of faith. To pursue a life of surrender and obedience, that makes his great name known to the world around us.
How are you continuing with joy, to live a life of obedience?
Piper writes, "the gospel brings about a new people who rejoice in the glory of Christ as their greatest treasure and who reflect the glory of Christ as their new identity. Christ is glorified by his glory being enjoyed and being echoed” .
While the wonder of spring brings us fresh joy of warmer weather and outdoor activities, the season also ushers in a time of remembrance and celebration of the work of Christ.
The gospel reminds us of our depravity, of our desperate need for rescue, and of the One who took on flesh for us, to live an obedient life to the point of death, to redeem his people and reconcile them to the Father.
As we learn to enjoy and echo the work of Christ, we will touch the world around us as a fragrant aroma of his wonder and beauty.
How can you enjoy and echo the work of Christ today?