“Sharpen your blade, Lord.”
Recently in the flow of worship, that line of prayer passed through my lips.
It has not been my intention to let so much time pass between blog posts. I have an ever-growing list of “blog ideas” accumulating as our time at BSSM continues. But forming wonderings into words — as much as I love the task — I’ve struggled to find the time. Allow me a few lines before bed swallows me up.
Hebrews 4:12 describes a wild weapon of God’s:
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.
At the risk of causing confusion, allow me to say: “Word of God” includes, but is not limited to, the leather-bound Scripture book that many of us hold dear. That’s not some spooky way of saying the Bible is insufficient or incomplete. It’s simply an acknowledgment that the thoughts of a infinite Being don’t squeeze well into even a couple thousand tissue-thin pages. What we’ve heard from Him is certainly enough, but it is equally certainly not-exhaustive.
But the message of Hebrews 4:12 is this: Everything you do hear from Him has a point.
When God interfaces with us, He comes for real.
People have a nifty knack for using much verbiage to unveil little value. The People-Maker: He’s not nearly so nifty or knacky. Some preachers receive props from listeners shouting, “That’s a good word.” You hear from God, and you’re apt to shake your stabbed hand and suck the blood of your fingers. You may need a friend with a handkerchief.
Yahweh’s words carried creative power in Genesis. He formed and filled the cosmos by what He said. So you can bet that when we construct — even unwittingly — rags of rebellion or coverings of callousness, He calls the Spirit to the sharpening stone to prepare His Sword. And when the Holy Assassin appears and runs His blade through your supposed substance, it’s both astonishing and awesome to discover: You are filling up as you are bleeding out.
My daughters love to put band-aids on their “owies”. I’ve tried to explain that their role is mostly for covering cuts, to keep germs out and blood in. But my girls think they are far more magical! They imagine these brown (Disney characters if we’re splurging) sticky strips to undo bruises, soothe hurt feelings, and make rainbows rise in the sky. So we stick them on, in an effort to bring comfort beyond their capacity. And little girls smile.
Allow me to say that the BSSM school-supply list did not mention nearly enough band-aids. Friends from home — friends that genuinely care — often ask quite sincerely, “So how’s BSSM?” I’ve yet to possess enough nerve to reply, “It’s a bloodbath.” But I could. Because it is.
More than deadly-sharp, God’s word is deadly-accurate. Hebrews 4:12 says so. The blade lives, for crying out loud! It moves! It bends and angles and dives and drives. It contorts and connives and schemes and sees. No random wounds by this weapon. It wedges itself into the crevices it discovers under our less-obscuring-than-we-imagined layers. Once in place, it hammers and heaves until the breaking point arrives. There is no thought or attitude or motivation that is immune. He’s coming in — all the way in. The slicing is part of the saving. The bleeding blends with the birthing.
And when you have felt life flow in through your wounds, then it shocks you not, to hear your lips praying, “Sharpen your blade, Lord.”