Day 11, Tough Love

Day 11 of my daily Lenten blog journey

I’ve been thinking about this oxymoron for awhile:  Tough Love.  Every parent understands the concept, and yet it is often hard to put it into practice.  Who wants to watch their child suffer?  Whether it is physical or emotional pain, our instinct is to protect and avoid.

In medicine, this concept is a daily truth.  Every day we have to put people through a small bit of torture on the road to better health.  Whether it’s starting a painful IV in order to give infection-fighting antibiotics, or doing physical therapy after a traumatic injury, healing is usually a painful process.

This made me think about a patient that I cared for a couple years ago, whom I nicknamed, Donny V (not his real name…).  I blogged about him awhile back (click here if you want to read).  He had gangrene in his lower left leg and we had to do an amputation.  He went on to have infection of the stump, and became deathly ill.  I really thought he was going to die.  We had to return him to the OR to open up the wounds and drain out all of the purulent material (pus).  Then, we went through an arduous daily process of changing his dressings and draining fluid, which was agonizing to him.  He would often howl and sob in pain, but we persisted, as it was saving his life.

He made it through the trial, and I just saw him last month.  He was being evaluated by our prosthetics team (who comes down from Washington State, Yeah!) for a new leg.  It’s so cool to see beauty made from ashes.  He’s going to be kicking goals on the fútbol field in no time.


He also doesn’t have any eyeballs, that’s why his eyes are closed.  Really sad.

Naw, just kiddin’, he blinked…

Back to Tough Love.

For those of you who have a hard time trusting a God who allows suffering in this world, I get it.  But look, it’s not part of the deal.  Bear with me, check this out:

Jesus says in John 16 (NIV):  “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  ‘trouble’ is in the contract, it is a given.

And then the Word says:

James 1:2-4 (the Message) says:  ‘Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.’ 

Wait, bad stuff is part of the plan?  But I’m going to grow from it if I persevere?  So just lean into it?

Oh, ok.  Let’s do this.

I really hate to give you any homework, but this video is just so dang good, so consider it.  This guy is named Matt Chandler, and I have a bit of a man crush on him, because he seems to be a really genuine guy who loves Jesus.  The cliff notes version of his talk is from Minute 39:16 to 44:00.   CLICK RIGHT HERE.  But, if you have 50 minutes to spare, it will be time well spent to watch it all.

Photo of the day:

Basketball court just behind El Camino bilingual school (where my daughter Juliet attends). Doesn’t get used much.  There’s this little game called Fútbol (soccer)…


11 down, 36 to go.

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