Jesus said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17 ESV).
They wheeled him in from the recovery room, a restless, drug-induced sleep blanketing his demeanor, the stark sheets and sticky Steri-Strips concealing the craggy road of recovery ahead.
Even in slumber, his brow furrowed in pain. I slipped my hand into his and waited.
Splayed open on the operating table just an hour before, trachea pushed to the side, muscles and tendons pinned back, he trusted a surgeon to reach through his neck, scrape out part of his spine, and fuse it all together again with a metal plate and a couple of screws.
So this recovery? It’s gonna hurt a little — not for hours and days but for weeks and months. Understandably.
We knew this, of course, but if we’re honest, I think there was this tiny part of us that thought somehow he’d be different, that he’d be able to skip all the raggedy parts like vomiting and sleep-deprivation, exhaustion and dizziness, weakness and despair.
But no. We’ve learned that recuperation is no vacation, that convalescence is hard work. Recovery is hope tinged with uncertainty, optimism colored by discomfort, expectation accompanied by doubt.
I articulate these mix-matched feelings about a procedure for which we are quite grateful — a surgery that brings the promise of restored mobility and the elimination of excruciating pain to my strong man — because through its lens I see the greater journey of the lives of all who choose Jesus.
Can you see the comparison? We come to Jesus hurting both from our own poor decisions and from having been cut through by the jagged edges of a broken world filled with shattered, sharp-edged, people. God reveals to us a spiritual x-ray of our lives, and shows us our desperate need for the Great Physician. And the truth is, we’re all worse off than we knew.
So the question becomes: Will we trust Him? Because here’s the thing: the Great Physician will cut us. He will splay us wide open, reach through every false face, and scrape away the flowery bits of wicked sinfulness that flourish in our depravity.
And the lifelong recuperation from His keen and skillful touch is no vacation; convalescence is hard work. The recovery is hope tinged with uncertainty, optimism colored by discomfort, expectation accompanied by doubt.
But, as eye-witness testimonies, personal accounts and time-tested scrolls of truth attest to and affirm, those who trust Jesus through every bit of the process all the way to the glorious end will receive an eternal recovery void of any possibility of relapse.
And what a happy day that will be for all those who trusted in the Great Physician.