Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Where Does It Hurt?

As a young nurse I worked for a short time in a facility where most patients did not have an expectation of recovery. The staff had the same low expectation and so supplies were not well inventoried or returned to their proper place.

One evening, in the middle of dinner, a lovely woman about the age I am now had a respiratory arrest half way through the pork chops, mashed potatoes, stewed tomatoes and corn... but not before she threw it up all over herself. I came running with the crash cart only to discover there was no plastic airway and no bag you can put over a person's mouth to pump air into their lungs without having to do mouth to mouth.

I heard protests of, "No way, Not me, Not on your life," bravely coming from the other staff as we all realized help was only to be had if one of us could see past the vomit to the woman.

I drained two quarts of peroxide just rinsing my mouth after it was all over and she was on her way to a larger facility. To this day I cannot eat stewed tomatoes with corn.

That story may be too much information for some. I share it because it illustrates that sometimes the buffers have to go. John David has war stories that would drive that point home. The quicker and closer you are willing to get to the injured the better their survival rate.

Christ blew all the buffers away. There wasn't a stewed tomato on the planet that was going to stop Him. He had come for those who loved Him and amazingly for those who did not. Strangers and enemies had a call on His purpose and affection. A text message was insufficient to the task so God came to our door.

He was not a Savior who lived a Sabbath Day's Journey away from you or spoke through a veil or separated clean from unclean. This Savior put His hands in your mouth and told you to talk; spit and opened your eyes with it. He laid hold of lepers and bodies wasting away from unknown diseases. He ate food made by unwashed hands and treasured the tears of moral ruins. He poked and asked, "Where does it hurt?" (Though He knew the answer)

Even His death was up close and personal with not so much as a thin cloth to separate His nakedness from us. Jesus was a "Hands-On" God so we who needed saving could get our hands ON GOD. He is a God whose purpose is not to withdraw or stand apart from us. This God wants to be touched and you don't need to wash your hands first.

Touch Him they did, in hope, in desperation, in friendship; with tender touches and finally with ungentle hands. To the doubting He even offered His own wounds for exploration.

"That which was from the beginning (Jesus) we have heard and have seen with our eyes, have looked upon, and our hands have handled..."(1 John 1) A God who wants to be "handled." Amazing!

In countless ways over many days, God has put His arms around me. Christ is no long distance Redeemer. He is a skin on skin communicator who laid His hands on my soul, on all that I am about, on all that I care for, on everything dear to me... including my buffers.

Terry Tempest Williams offers that, "Faith is the centerpiece of a connected life."

The scripture promises us that He gives us the very thing needed for that connectedness, faith. He isn't waiting for us to figure out how it all works. It matters not if you have known Him long or are contemplating an introduction, maybe a re-acquaintance. Remember the out cast woman who couldn't stop bleeding? Remember that hem?

"If I could just lay hold of His hem..."

Do it!

He wants us to reach.

His hand is extended.

The question is on His lips,

"Where does it hurt?"

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