Of Broken Bones and Faith

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I was on my way home from work when I got the page—911. I hurriedly dialed home to hear that five year-old Christopher had a bad puncture wound under his left jaw. He had catapulted off his bicycle into the edge of a log. Lots of blood. I hurriedly asked if he was breathing okay; the answer was yes. I was 30 minutes away.

When I arrived, I looked at the wound. It was bleeding more from the inside than the outside. My wife, Cynthia, had rolled up a cloth and put it into Christopher’s mouth to absorb some of the seeping blood. The wound looked odd—smooth tissue, almost like the inside tissue of a cheek. We were off to the emergency room at St. John’s in Washington, MO.

The doctor suspected a broken jaw, and the x-ray confirmed it. It was a compound fracture in a difficult location. The bone had protruded from the inside to the outside, puncturing the skin, and then snapping back into place. We needed a specialist; the emergency room doctor suggested transferring via ambulance to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. By now, it was late. Cynthia and Christopher would make that trip; I would take Jonathan and Jennifer home for the night. Back home, by the light of a flashlight, I wiped up the trail of blood left on the porch from the accident.

I have been examining and discussing the components of salvation and how it is deliverance involving a conversion. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. We live in a world filled with atheists and agnostics. Does it make sense to believe in a real God that cares deeply about people?

When you’re wiping up the blood of your son after an accident, that is a very real question. Or perhaps you have been diagnosed with cancer or some other disease, and the future is very uncertain. Does God really exist and does He care about me? This becomes much more than a theoretical, theological, or philosophical question. It becomes the point of convergence between reality and eternity.

The Bible says, the fool says in his heart there is not God. If you don’t believe God exists, most likely you won’t care what the Bible says either. So use your logic. To say you know God doesn’t exist means you would have to be all-knowing and omnipresent, so God couldn’t escape your investigation somehow. In short, you would have to be God to prove God doesn’t exist. The "best" you can do is to say you don’t believe God exists. In other words, you’re not sure, you don’t know, you’re agnostic, or ignorant.

It takes more effort to be ignorant these days than it used to. Advances in cell research and understanding of DNA structure reveal a complexity of design that would have caused Darwin to use his famous book on the origin of species as fire starter if he had access to the information we have now.

To believe complex life forms sprung out of nothing and evolved to higher and higher levels requires a great deal of a kind of religious faith, much more than is required in Christianity. Do some research, think it through, catch up with the demons. James says, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils [demons] also believe and tremble" (James 2:19). The demons know God exists. And they tremble.

The other component of faith is trust. It’s trusting God no matter what. God honors such trust when it is accompanied by a submissive, humble heart, a heart that is completely yielded to God’s will in all things.

So. . .when bones are broken and blood is spilled and disease comes and bad things happen to people who claim Christ as their Savior—what does it mean? Is it chastisement for sin? Or perhaps a testing of faith? Or perhaps a special purpose of God for a certain individual?

In David’s 51st Psalm of repentance, he writes, "Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities" (vv. 8-9 KJV).

In times of trouble, it is good to examine ourselves to see if there is something that needs disciplining. Perhaps what we are suffering is a natural consequence of living wrong or taking foolish risks. Or perhaps it is a testing of faith. Genesis 22:1a says, "after these things God tested Abraham. . ." (ESV). What follows is the story of Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac as a sacrifice.

Peter also writes of our faith being tested. "So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" ( 1 Peter 1:7, ESV). It seems clear that God is interested in the depth of our trust in Him.

Or perhaps God has a specific purpose in mind for what we suffer. "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:1-3 KJV).

We may or may not have an idea of why suffering and difficulties come our way. But if our trust truly is in God, if our relationship with Him is our top priority and there is an honest desire for Him to be Master over every area of our lives—you can rest on this: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28 KJV).

All things. Even broken bones that test our faith.

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Image Credits: Joel Montes de Oca