“The Lump is a bone tumor” the Doctor said over the phone. My heart dropped into my stomach as I nearly dropped the mixing bowl full of cake batter I was whisking to the floor. The phone call from our Pediatrician confirmed the news we had been agonizing about for weeks. The lump on the shoulder of our nine year old son was a growth that shouldn’t exist in his young body. The next few minutes following the bad news was a series of questions and answers; the conversation ending with the phrase ” should be benign” and a referral to a specialist.
What we’d originally thought was a sports injury turned out to be a slow growing bone tumor. We have no idea when it started growing, we found it when it was full grown and showed its hard presence by pushing through his skin.
This was the second major health concern we have encountered with our only son. At the age of Eighteen months, before he could really understand and describe the pain in words, infection plagued his body and an auto immune disorder flared. The Doctors had no idea why this was happening to our boy. Our new normal was visiting the hospital three times a week for blood draws to monitor white blood cell counts. The team of Doctors had to rule out certain health conditions. His little body could not protect itself from the germs he was exposed to. Instead It would attack itself instead of fighting the outside threats. He was diagnosed with a blood disorder but thankfully, he outgrew that stage of illness. Over a period of weeks turning to months his health slowly returned.
As I studied scripture recently, the Lord showed me the similarities of our sons illness to how sin grows in a Christian’s life. Like the tumor, sin can wreak havoc if allowed to grow. Outward sin can be clearly evident such as cheating, stealing or filthy language. Other times sin can be deeply hidden, as in the lust of our eyes or coveting deep in our hearts. It can spread fast like the rapid infections in the body, as the enemy turns up the heat of temptation and the wayward believer may give in. Or slow growing deep inside just like our son’s bone tumor not recognizing it’s presence until the inward sin is full grown .
Yet the Bible is clear about what a believer is to do with sin. Jesus said in Matthew 5:29-30: ” If your eye -even your good eye- causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body then your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand – even your stronger hand- causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than your whole body to be thrown into hell.
When I first read this passage, I thought, ” Wow, now that is a drastic command’. Yet when I had to deal with my own struggle recently, I saw firsthand how dangerous this sin could be.
I had to look at my struggle honestly and examine it by the Word and go into the Lord’s presence to and ask God to cut it away from me. I knew the consequences of whatever action came from the struggle in the mind and I chose to openly confess the sin to God. I saw that it broke his heart and could hurt the ones immediately surrounding me. He showed me the continued damage it could have done not only to me but to my family if left to grow. The multiple x-rays and MRI looked deep into my son’s arm to located the bone tumor’s growth along with the muscles, nerves and arteries the tumor touched. I needed to allow the Lord to show me the internal growth of the sin in my heart and mind.
It wasn’t easy, and it was just plan hard to do. Yet the outcome of victory conquering the sin with Jesus’ redemptive grace was such a relief. Just like our son, who dreaded his surgery to remove the bone tumor, we ultimately know the outcome of a better quality of life he will live after the tumor was removed. He endured the surgery this past June and it went very smoothly. He recovered so fast and was back to his normal silly self in no time. The only memories left of the tumor are the pink scars of the stitches on his shoulder along with the hospital bill. We praise God because the tumor was Benign after all.
We all need to go to the “Specialist” our Lord Jesus, the Great Physician and allow him to examine our minds, hearts, eyes , motives and actions. Cutting away any sin that is holding us in bondage and keeping us from full communion with him. We don’t have to beg for him to give us pure hearts and minds. It is his nature to purify us and cut away the sin from our lives. His shed blood on the cross, winning victory over sin is enough for all of us. Just like the Surgeon cut the tumor off our sons shoulder bone, Jesus can cut away sins and bad habits from us if we allow him to.
His cut may be deep to rid us of sin but it is the only way to allow us to live a life of freedom and purity with him.