The Graft

The Graft July 23, 2018

It’s been three weeks since I wrote, and my only excuse is that my son got a puncture wound from a car wreck he was in, which led to sepsis, two surgeries, and IV antibiotics for six weeks. Oral antibiotics for another four. Surgery #3 is tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon. So again, I may be gone for a while. Or, if all goes well and there’s nothing to do but stare at his huge, splinted thumb, perhaps I’ll be online, sharing my long, skinny thoughts. Just depends! Thank you for your patience, because I know most of my readers have just been dying for me to write a blog. I’m that popular, people.

Heh.

Seriously, though. Our man cub will be getting a skin graft tomorrow. I’m so looking forward to less gruesome bandage changes (for me), and a thumb with skin (for him). How annoying and painful it must be to be skinned alive, down to he bone and tendon, on a part of your body that is used so frequently. Weeks of healing time have passed, and still no skin to be seen. However, there’s some very healthy granulation tissue forming, which is great because it makes a skin graft possible. In many ways, he is very much akin to a burn victim. Hence the graft. And as you may or may not know, skin grafts have the ability to be a great help – if they take. So we are praying it does indeed “take”, and that the part of the thumb being stubborn and refusing to grow granulation tissue will fully heal after the surgeon “cleans it up” – aka “scrapes out the parts that refuse to heal.”

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Interestingly enough, an email titled “The Graft” was delivered to my inbox recently. Joni Eareckson Tada wrote it, and it encouraged and helped me focus on the fact that while my son is getting a physical graft, he is also getting a spiritual graft. Please pray with us that he heals physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We all need spiritual grafting and healing, but the man cub is in particularly great need as of late. Without wounding, there is no saving, and it’s hard as a parent to stand by and watch that wounding. I fervently pray his physical graft would take. I pray even more fervently that his spiritual graft would take … for I am weary of watching the wounding, and am utterly desperate for the saving.

That’s not to say I don’t believe my son is a Christian. It’s to say that all Christians have been saved (justified), are being saved (sanctified), and will be saved (glorified). And it’s that long and arduous process of sanctification that I am lamenting over today. It’s often a difficult and painful personal experience. It’s often a more difficult and painful to watch a loved one experience it.

And yet I also rejoice, knowing that He who began a good work in us will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6)

I’ll be back here as soon as circumstances allow. Here’s Joni, with words more eloquent than I could ever pen:

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:5

As a child, I remember early spring and grafting time in my Uncle Don’s apple orchard. My uncle would run his hand over the bark of the apple tree, finding just the right place to peel it away and make a slanting cut into the heart of the wood. He would then take a small branch, make a cut in the tree, and push the graft down into the damp wood of the tree. Later that spring, new life would emerge: blossoms to buds to fruit. I’ve heard that one tree can bear over one hundred different kinds of apples. But it does not come without a wounding in both tree and branch.

Years later I would understand John Bunyan’s words: “Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think…. It is wounding work, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving. Where there is grafting there is a cutting, the graft must be let in with a wound…Heart must be set to heart…or there will be no sap from root to branch.

Never would I have dreamed as I wandered through that orchard as a little girl, sensing the Spirit’s promptings to draw nearer, that my journey to know God would be filled with such cutting and wounding. The diving accident in which I became paralyzed was yet in the future, but it would force my wound to His wound, my heart to His heart. Years later I would understand the lesson of the graft: the wounding is where divine sap flows and spiritual fruit blossoms.

In affliction and suffering, our hearts are pressed into His. And the life of God flows into us, wound to wound. In those times of brokenness, remember that in Christ, the result is life, life, and more life.

Help me, Lord, to remain, to abide in You this day, no matter what my circumstances.

**Photo by Aleyna Rentz on Unsplash


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