The Scars on My Hands

Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches.  Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

John 5: 3 – 6

            Two Sunday mornings ago I was preparing my pre-church breakfast. I go big before preaching. I usually cook a two-egg omelet with peppers, mushrooms, onions and cheese with toast. Sometimes, I push my pre-church meal by frying a slice of bacon—needed protein for the long morning ahead of me.

            On the morning of January 7th, I wanted scrambled eggs with vegetables, grated cheese, chipotle hot sauce and bacon. After the bacon was done, I poured the grease out to finish my meal. Rather than going in the wastebasket the liquid poured mostly on my right ring finger and middle finger. The pain was exquisite. I yelled. Our dog, Elsie scampered out of the kitchen, tail between her legs. Leslie rushed to my aid and tripped on the dog’s bowl and fell on the floor. The Spencers were having a tough morning.

            The burns blistered red and raw. The skin peeled. About a week after the mishap, a friend caught a glance of my fingers and asked, “What happened to you?”  Amid the ugliness of my hurting fingers there was healing taking place. A little more than two weeks after scorching my hand in bacon grease; my fingers are only a little rosy red and with a few tiny scabs.            

            The healing of most significant hurts is often long and slow. The pain lingers. Scars remind you of a past you’d rather forget. You’d like the pain to just go away.

            “Would you like to get well?” Jesus asked the man who had been unable to move for a lifetime. That may be where healing begins, if it is to begin—with a question. Do we want to get better? Do we want to change? Do we want to be whole? Of course the answer is yes. But is it? Healing takes time. Healing often comes with more pain. Healing changes you.

            I know a man who lives in another state. One summer, while cutting his grass, he turned his foot and broke a bone. The doctor told him that he needed surgery immediately to set the bone and begin the healing. This man balked at the surgeon’s directions. So, he got a cane and walked with a limp for two years before having the surgery.

            We all limp. We all need the healing, changing touch of Jesus. Are we ready to be healed?