For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. —Hebrews 4:12
Chest pain is never good. This one became especially concerning because it had lasted for so long. The doctor happened to be a friend of my dad (allowing me to bypass the typical two-month delay in securing an appointment). He also happened to be the head of thoracic medicine at a highly respected hospital. Because our meeting was “off the grid,” so to speak, my appointment was not in an examination room. Sheryl and I were ushered into a comfortable well-appointed office. The Doc followed, calmly asked what the problem was and then confidently announced, “You have Tietze Syndrome.” No, he was not Albert Schwietzer and my issue was not as exotic as it sounded. “Just” a benign inflammation of the cartilage around my sternum. That’s all? Sounds simple enough. But, as I’ve said many times, never confuse simple with easy!
“I can fix you.”
“Great. Therapy? Meds?
“No, I can fix you right now?”
“You mean, right now, right now?”
“Yes.” (Picks up the phone and has a short conversation with a nurse. In walks a nurse, holding a tray.) “Please lie down on the couch.” (Takes the biggest needle I’ve ever seen off the aforementioned tray and places his left hand on my sternum.)
“What are you going to do with that thing?” (As I naively recline.)
“Fix you.” (Takes the needle in his right hand and plunges it into the middle of my chest and injects some type of anti-inflammatory steroid—I didn’t even have time to register a protest!)
Within seconds (albeit the longest seconds of my life), the pain was gone. Just for the record, it’s never returned.
The writer of Hebrews says that the Bible is that kind of instrument—one that is able to wedge itself in between the joints and marrow of our spiritual lives, expose the problem and then inject whatever remedy is required to meet our need, to alleviate our pain or to otherwise set us on a path to spiritual health. I have to admit, when I realized what would be required to alleviate my Tietze Syndrome (even though I didn’t have that long to reflect), in that moment I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be fixed that badly! Much like those passages of Scripture that reflect a regimen of obedience that seems a bit more painful than we’d hoped for. Two more Advil would have been both simple and easy. When you think about it, the needle was just as simple as the Advil, maybe even quicker—just not that easy.
Here’s the point—Biblical principles are usually all pretty simple to follow. Some are easy, others are not. But they all work.