By Sheri Del Core
While I was on a mission trip in India, some nationals brought a boy with a
wounded hand to me. “He did this an hour ago, it looks pretty bad. Can you do
something?” asked the director of the Vacation Bible School we were conducting.
I’d helped with the medical team while on the trip—but only as a dental
assistant. I took the boy’s hand and cringed as I tried to look past the dirt,
blood and puss to assess his wound. He had a four-inch gash that was clearly
infected, not a fresh wound. When questioned, with much effort from an
interpreter with very little English, the boy said he’d injured himself a week
ago from falling off a motorbike. Taking him aside and cleaning the wound I
could see there had been a poor attempt at suturing. The wound was now wide
open and festering.
A member of the church where we were working came over to help interpret and
accused the boy of lying, stating that the boy had probably cut his hand trying
to sneak onto someone’s property. Many of the walls surrounding property in
Chennai are topped with shards of glass to keep out thieves. The gash was
certainly more likely from that and was probably why the boy was avoiding
treatment. This boy needed proper medical care; did it matter how he hurt
himself? After emphasizing this to our interpreter, he finally changed focus
from the how and the sin, to the wound and the wounded. He helped me convey to
the boy the seriousness of the infection: that he could lose his hand or it
could make his heart very sick, that he needed antibiotics and for the wound to
be sutured properly. The interpreter, however, kept insisting that I do it!
Trying not to turn whiter than I was already, I fervently explained that a
doctor needed to open up the wound, clean it out and then sew it up. All I
could do was clean it externally, dab ointment on it and cover it to keep it
from getting more dirt in it.
Afterward I felt like God was showing me an illustration of what He’d done in
my life. My life was like that ugly festering wound before I came to Jesus and
trusted Him enough to allow Him to open up the painful truth of my life,
cleanse me and purify me by washing me in His grace, then mending me, restoring
me to live a new life in Him. In shame, I too tried to hide how damaged I was.
Out of fear, I too was reluctant to trust. Would it be worse for me if God knew
the truth? Would God punish me about the how, about the sin? Or would he love
me so much that he’d just want me healed and restored to Him. How wonderful to
discover it wasn’t about the how of the sin or the what of the wound, but it
was entirely about the Who of the Savior!
I know from years of experience the futility of trying to make myself clean
from the outside, the uselessness of trying to cover brokenness with a bandage.
Only the Great Physician himself could lay open my heart, release the
death-grip sin had on me and immerse me in the truth of Christ Jesus.
Sheri Del Core is a writer living in Aptos, California.
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