When I was five-years-old, I accompanied my mother to the home of a parishioner from the church my parents pastored.
The lady was ill, and Mom and I had gone to pray for her. When I walked into her house, I saw a picture of Jesus on the wall, and it was unlike any I had ever seen.
In those days, it seemed everybody had a picture of Jesus hanging on a wall in the family home. None of the pictures were exactly the same, so as a child, I was a bit bewildered, wondering what Jesus really looked like.
It was not the picture of Jesus that so took me by surprise that day. It was what Jesus was doing in the picture that I did not understand. Jesus was holding in one of His arms a small lamb whose broken leg had been splinted and wrapped in white gauze. Jesus’ other hand and forearm were lying gently on the lamb’s back, holding it firmly in place.
A Mangled Arm
Not long ago, a wounded warrior shared with me his heartbreaking, touching story of suffering.
His arm is mangled. and the muscle tissue is horribly damaged. In addition to the damage to the muscle tissue, the bones in the arm had been broken, the shoulder dislocated, and some of the bones in his hand are missing. Accompanying these injuries is severe nerve damage with its own assault if problems. I estimate his arm is only ten-percent usable.
Of his own volition, the young man made this statement, “I would have been better off if they had amputated my arm and given me a prosthesis. Missing arms don’t hurt.”
Out of this unrestrained statement of candid honesty, he arrived at a realization without a conclusion, “It’s useless. But for what purpose?”
My mind went back to the picture I had seen as a child of Jesus holding that little lamb with a broken and useless leg.
It was Jesus holding the lamb.
It was not Dr. Kevorkian, dubbed Dr. Death by the media, who probably would have said, “Let’s put the animal down. He’s going to die anyway. After all, it only has three good legs.”
It was not the finest physician in orthopedic care at one of our military hospitals who cradled the lamb in his arms. It was Jesus!
What Might Jesus Do?
Which begs the question…
Why did Jesus wrap and splint the leg when He could have healed it?
After all, Jesus raised the dead; He opened the blind eyes. Jesus is the Miracle Man, the son of God Who can walk on water.
Why did He splint the leg of the little lamb when He could have healed it?
As a five-year-old boy, I looked up at my mother, a woman who had already begun to enter what would be years of horrific suffering that eventually would leave her in a fetal position for a decade before she drew her last breath. A woman who was the best communicator I have ever known, who would be suddenly left speechless by a stroke and never utter another word. This is the woman into whose face I looked and asked, “Mommy, why did Jesus put a splint on the leg when He could have healed it?”
Her insight was profound as she answered my question…
“A lamb with a broken leg cannot run away and must be carried in the arms of God.”
Staying With God
I spoke from my heart to the young warrior when I told him that for the rest of his life, his arm would remind him of his dependence on Jesus, just as my scarred face continually reminds me to hide behind the image of Christ.
The wounded warrior’s arm will never be used normal again, but the arms of God that cradle him will also sustain and defend him because he can no longer fend for himself.
“Listen to Me, (says the Lord)… I’ve been carrying you on My back from the day you were born, and I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old. I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray. I’ve done it and will keep on doing it, carrying you on My back, saving you” (Isaiah 46:3-4 The Message).
“…I haven’t dropped you. Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you” (Isaiah 41:9-10 The Message).