Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Crime and Pumice-ment

I am gearing up to celebrate the Easter holiday. A holiday centered on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As I ready myself for that, I look back over my year and think, "You really needed Jesus' blood this year, Tammie Jo." Even as I age, I continue to need Jesus more and more. Does that make sense? Wouldn't I get wiser and have less tendency to sin as we mature? It seems counterintuitive.

But it's not...

Consider dry skin, for example. Dry skin has plagued for many years...even back to elementary school. What's worse, as people age, their skin, the first layer of defence for their bodies, is exposed to greater numbers of harsh environmental elements and conditions. If people don't have enough water in their systems, or if their systems aren't absorbing enough moisture, then their skin becomes hard and calloused in order to protect them from the world.
So now I have even drier, harder, more calloused skin than when I was younger. I hate that! My hands scratch Evie when I put lotion on her after a bath. My skin randomly just splits open on my finger tips, especially during the winter. Blech!

Fortunately, you and I were not created by a God who says, "You have dry skin? Well, then we don't want you...". Instead, we have a God who carries a pumice stone. A pumice stone is the funny looking, light weight, grey stones that are coarse and gritty when you touch them. God calls his pumice stone the Holy Spirit. According to dictionary.com, pumice can also mean to clean; and callouses can also come from friction. I find those two distinctions quite poignant as I consider how the world can make us unclean, and that we are becoming calloused due to tension, and friction. But I digress...:)

What does God do with the pumice stone? He takes some time and starts to file, file, file away those rough places of my heart. I can see the microscopic flakes of deadened feelings, calloused pieces of soul, and hardened emotions swirling and floating away with each brush of the stone.

He stops buffing, and looks deeply at me. The roughness is gone. My body is finally realeasing that dead part of me-the part that had calloused and hardened so I wouldn't feel as much pain. But He doesn't quite see the new baby-pink fleshiness that would come with new life.

"We can do more, " says God. The pumicing begins again. Now I feel know He's smoothing out my head AND my heart. The stone moves back and forth, back and forth; like waves of water across rocks on a shore. He's trying to get the heart and the head to an equal cleanliness, an equal newness. He's gently reminding me that the heart and the head typically give me the right answers and guide me the right way to go, but sometimes, I don't get the message because of the callouseness of my soul.

Instead of punishing me for my crimes, God chooses to pumice me. When I have built up too many barriers, too many callouses to the pain of this world; when I have been away from His Living Water, when I haven't had time for Him to nourish my soul...I get off His path...I can't hear His voice. So then, I have to go through the discomfort of pumicement; a gentler alternative to the wages of sin, but time-consuming, and sometimes heart-wrenching.

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