For as long as I could remember, my grandmother favored one of her legs. The limp was very slight but over time, the favored leg became noticeably thinner than the other one and as a result became more and more troublesome. She eventually succumbed to using a cane. That in itself is not unusual for someone in their 70's but the sad thing is, it didn't have to have come to that.
My grandmother, like so many of her generation, resisted seeing a doctor. She preferred to simply trust in the Lord. That in itself is not a bad thing. We certainly should trust in God to help and heal us, however, we also need to recognize that God has blessed us with a wealth of knowledge about how to care for the human body when it is sick.
When she was in her 80's, my aunt, who was caring for my grandmother at the time, insisted on taking my grandmother to the doctor regularly. At her first visit to a podiatrist, he noticed something strange. For years my grandmother would pare down a callous when it became too large and painful. She never considered that there was a reason for that callous and as a result, she was always in search for the perfect pair of shoes which she never found.
The podiatrist however, realized there was a reason for this callous and upon further examination, he discovered the reason. There was a small sliver of coal embedded in my grandmother's foot. It had to have been there for over 40 years and perhaps even longer, back to the days when she would have been around a coal stove.
The coal was extracted but unfortunately, due to years of neglect, the damage it caused could not be reversed. It wasn't long before that due to lack of use that leg became to fragile to bear her weight and she spent the rest of her days in a wheelchair.
It didn't have to have been like that though. If she would have sought medical attention when she first began to have the problem, the offending piece of coal would have been discovered and removed before permanent damage occurred.
Sometimes there are shards that get embedded into our heart. These are things that have no business being there. We feel a bit of a twinge when they enter but we tell ourselves it is nothing. All is well. We avoid "stepping on it" and might even wrap something around it to make it less painful. The problem is, the problem is still there and over time it cripples us.
Painful as it is, If we do not deal with things as soon as possible, if we ignore the things that do not belong in our hearts, it will eventually cripple us spiritually. Instead of moving forward in the strength of the Lord, we will hobble along painfully, becoming weaker and weaker. Yes, God can help us but he also wants us to deal with things. He wants us to learn to recognize the "junk" in our lives and with his help, get it out of our heart!
Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall