“X” Marks the Spot

Well, Janet had surgery today to repair the broken finger that she suffered earlier this week while walking Lexie. I was in Dallas when the accident happened and so I was not present to hear the report from the emergency room or the hand specialist. But today, I was able to speak with the anesthesiologist and surgeon before the procedure. Since Janet has a such a tough time waking up from a general anesthetic, they elected to use a local block in her arm, and it worked out rather well – she didn’t feel a thing and the other meds kept her drowsy.

I really appreciated my time with the surgeon; he was most accommodating when I asked to be filled in. To cut to the chase, the break was really severe, and while he assured us that he would save her finger, it was a nasty break and she will be in therapy throughout the summer and perhaps into the fall. And, although we hope that it won’t be necessary, it is possible that she will need another surgery in about 4 months to complete the work necessary to restore as much movement as possible. Some of you know that Janet suffers with rather severe arthritis, and this adds to the chances that her finger mobility will be adversely affected after this accident.

What I found really interesting is how the surgeon planned to fix Janet’s finger. No incisions; but when they had everything lined up the way they wanted it, he would literally drill two pins through her knuckle all the way to the first joint. Sounds terrible; but he assured me it would work out. And after all the prep was done, Mary, and Rhonda, Janet’s nurses, wheeled her into surgery. I waited in the recovery room. And when it was done, less than an hour later, Janet was wheeled back in and was already more alert than when she had left.  Many of you texted me or wanted to know how things were going. Thank you – it helped pass the time for me. And to all of you, thank you for your prayers and thoughts today. They meant a great deal to both of us.

The surgeon came in, and said that things had gone well. In fact, he handed me two x-rays of what he had done. I looked down at the bony image of Janet’s hand, the one that I have held in mine since we were nineteen years old, and a mixture of emotions welled up in me. On one hand, no pun intended, I could see Janet’s curved fingers, damaged by the ravages of arthritis, and I was immediately visually reminded of why I have to be so careful now when we hold hands – so I don’t squeeze too tight and hurt her. And then, in the middle of the image of her ring finger, two black intersecting lines – a large “X”, where the two pins were diagonally inserted to hold all the fragments and crushed area in place. And it was a perfect “X” – all I could do was to stare for a moment. And what’s more, this finger that had been bent, like the others, was now perfectly straight – like it was pointing to something!

And immediately my mind went back to my days in seminary. Now I know what you’re thinking – what could this story have to do with school? But there was a powerful connection, and here it is. In seminary, especially in theology classes, there are so many notes to take that you have to improvise and use little shortcuts. For example, whenever you are referring to God, you may write a Theta (θ), the first letter in θεος, God in the Greek. And when you are referring to Christ, you make a Chi (X) – the first letter of Χριστος, Christ in the Greek spelling. And we do this automatically – have you ever written Xmas instead of Christmas? Well, then, you have been using a Greek abbreviation as well!

And all I could think about as I looked at that x-ray was Christ saying to me, “Scott, let me take care of this one. Don’t worry. I have her covered.” Exactly at the place where I placed that wedding ring on her finger so many years ago, the lines of the “X” intersected. Enough said – “X” marks the spot – Christ had it covered. And isn’t that the truth for all of us – Christ has us covered. His blood on the cross covered the sins of all of us – once and for all. The verse tonight, a more obscure passage from Paul, in 2 Cor. 5:15, “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

My encouragement tonight is to look for the miracles in your life and trust Christ to bring you through; no matter what the circumstances. The story this evening may seem like a little thing – how serious can a finger be? But as Janet said the other day – one moment everything is fine, and the next moment, your life changes. That can happen to any of us. So my prayer tonight is that you will become more observant and look for the signs of God all around you; because they are there. When you need encouragement, God is there – and so is Christ; and the Holy Spirit. Just like when I needed a little encouragement this afternoon. Christ always comes through. And maybe Janet’s one straight finger is pointing us “straight” to Christ. Please don’t forget that “X” marks the spot. Because He is the way, the one and only way, to the Father. Have a great day….


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