By G. P. Avants
“Endure hardships as discipline; God id treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?”
Hebrews 12: 7
You have to have heard this one on your birthday. Well, after you get the regular birthday song we use to add on a little more. “A pinch to grow an inch and a sock to grow a block.” Sometimes if it was Mom and Dad they would add, “and a smile to grow a mile.” This was given as some sort of blessing for another year? A pinch to grow an inch and sock to grow another block? Of course my brothers loved that part. That meant a nice red mark and a slug in the same arm. It was yet another reminder that I was getting older and hopefully a little git wiser.
Pain in its many degrees and forms is supposed to be a teacher. It warns us of danger and to avoid greater harm. We can learn from those pinches, pulls and punches or look at them as a constant annoyance. Maybe that’s where we pray for wisdom and insight. I have gotten this stitch in my side for years. Yes, you could call it a pinch that is trying to tell me something. In recent years, actually this week, that pinch got my attention. It warned me that I was pushing myself a little too hard.
I found myself unable to walk or even breath without pain. What really bit was that I was feeling really healthy. I was proud of myself that in my early forties I was feeling and looking better than I had in years. I thought I had overcome my back and arthritis issues. This pain was a nagging reminder that it hadn’t gone away. I am in pain (though getting better) and wondered what I did to make it this happen. Am I fighting heredity? Is it bad choices? Not stretching? The cold weather? I am sure it’s one of a combination of all of these that attributed to my condition. But that’s not why it happened. No, I think it was a gentle reminder from the Lord. He was telling me not to get too confident in my health. It can go just like that. It’s not the place to put my hope.
Does God want me to be miserable and unhealthy then? Should I just give up and not try to take care of myself. In my frustration I spoke to the Lord about this. It seems like I have had so many start overs that is it time I just give up and not try. No, I think it’s a deeper issue. David in the Bible told God to search his heart. Tell me if you find any wicked way in me and remove it. Job was a Godly man whom God tested as well. His whole life fell apart. Why? God knew there was something deep inside. It was pride.
Pride in oneself and accomplishments doesn’t have to be big to cause a major problem. It’s like that yeast Jesus talked about. Its small, but it grows. It only takes one tiny microscopic germ to give you the flu and drop you whimpering to the cool side of the toilet. God loves us the way we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way. He knows how to remove dangerous things that may be in delicate places in our very soul. He knows what we will face and how to keep little unassuming things from collapsing the entire household of our life.
So I see that pinch not as a pain, but a gentle constant reminder that God is at my side. He is teaching me to walk with Him in honesty and purity. Humbly I take each thing in my life and bring it before him. If it means a shaking, and adjusting or a total fresh start I need to trust him. One hundred percent of the time He’s always right. I don’t think He’s going to break that track record.
So, now that I know what the pinches are for I wonder what the socks are for? Do I really need to grow a block?