Under the Scalpel of Grace

Trail running for some would seem like an unusual way to enjoy free time but for me it’s a moment when I feel so alive. So when a very tiny piece of glass recently became lodged under the surface of my foot it quickly cramped my running style! I then went through several emasculating phases of coping.

tennis schoes trail runnnig

Phase 1: Ignoring

Toughen up, be the man. I couldn’t remember stepping on any glass so just hobble around a few days and let it work it. No crying, at least not publically.

Phase 2: Personal quick-fix

Take a pin, dig it out. All the cowboy hero’s in my western movies dug out bullets and arrows, why can’t I? Answer: I couldn’t do it because I was missing a stylish cowboy suit and matching hat. Also, it really hurt when I tired.

Phase 3: Acceptance

Walk around gingerly. Yes, it hurts, but let’s never ever go back to phase 2 or talk about what happened publically. Hobble around, live with it.

Phase 4: Showdown

It was sundown, a time of many famous western gun battles. My wife Bec had just returned home from her work as a nurse at the hospital. With a wide grin she said, “Ryan, there’s good news and bad news” I curiously raised one eyebrow. “The good news, you’ll soon be running again!” I felt trapped—it was a showdown. She slowly un-holstered a giant monstrosity of a needle from her purse. “Lay down! No flinching!” I tried to run but for reasons stated above it was useless. I surrendered. A lonesome cowboy song whistled in the background as I walked the dusty trail to the couch and submitted my foot into Bec’s hands. My time had come. As I began my last speech, as every respectable cowboy does, Bec poked mid first sentence. “I would just like to say… AHHH!”

The good news, Bec was right. A few days later I was back to running. Feeling free and alive to life once more along the dusty trail. It struck me how similar our life can be under the scalpel of God’s grace. Each person I know, including myself, has accumulated everyday limps in life, real issues. Perhaps we ignore the problem, try a few self-help strategies, or maybe we’ve just accepted things as they are. The scalpel of God’s grace begs one question: Will we trust God with each of these tender, perhaps painful, areas of our lives?  We may become fearful, resist, but the limp remains. I’ve found that entrusting our “limps” to God may initially be painful or scary, yet it is the only remedy. The scalpel is in final summation an instrument healing, of grace. Only when we allow our loving God to enter into these spaces will we experience a freedom that allows us to run fully alive again. For this cowboy, I recon I’ll ride down that trail.

In Luke 4-18-19 Jesus said,

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. (NIV)

Ryan Vallee


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