As most of you know, I am a carpenter. Tonight, I am finding it extremely difficult to type, for a physical reason. I sliced the tip of my finger deeply, and it hurts. I am not asking for pity. There is actually a point to this.
As a carpenter, there are numerous tools I use. From cordless drills, to table saws, planers, to edge sanders and grinders, nearly every tool I use can take a digit, or a limb, and possibly even my life. At the very least, they can poke holes in you, such as a cordless drill bit slipping off the work and through your finger. Yes, I have actually had that happen.
Saturday, a razor blade slashed across the tip of my left index finger, the same finger which lost part of the extreme tip to a utility knife three years ago. I don’t know what is up with that left index finger, but it sure does seem to get in the way of razor blades a lot.
Just days before that, I was cutting some yellow pine on my table saw, when suddenly I heard this metallic ping. Not a good sound to hear, if you are a carpenter. When you hear that sound, it usually means some part of the board you are cutting has broken loose, hit the high speed saw blade, and is now a projectile.
Said projectile penetrated my neck, leaving a slight gash which several people at the jobsite commented was a hicky. Until they saw the blood, and the gash. Then they just wanted to know “how the eff that happened?” Ah yes, there’s the eff word again, huh?
When the projectile hit me, it felt like someone had punched me in the throat. Usually, I wouldn’t march straight into my house, and head for the mirror after getting hit with a piece of wood, but I wanted to see if there was anything stuck in the wound. As I looked, it became plain to me that I wasn’t going to die. I put a band aid on it, and went back out to my shop.
Before I returned to the jobsite, I took the band aid off. There is nothing like a band aid, or a splint, to cause people to ask the same question every time, all of the time, many times. “What happened?” Answer? ”Ummm, I fell off my hobby horse, rolled onto the floor, where I happened to land on a grenade, see, and it blew up, but all I got is this”
Seriously, I tend to lose all bandages and signs of wounds as quickly as possible, exactly because I don’t like to answer, “What happened?” In my profession, you could come to a jobsite nearly every day with one or two band aids to stop the bleeding, and then, you’d never stop answering “What the eff did you do?”
This is my work. I understand the risks, I love the job, and I wouldn’t do it if I hadn’t weighed the risks, and found them acceptable. Most of the cuts are small, and actually, you never put a band aid on a sliver. Heck, I get those two to three times a day.
I have known carpenters who have lost fingers, as well as arms. I have never met anyone who was later killed as a carpenter, but I have heard of numerous examples where it actually happened. The table saw incident snapped me back to reality. It can happen to anyone.
So why do I bring this up? Because I think being a carpenter is the most wonderful job in the world, despite the risks.
When I became a believer, I didn’t know the risks. All I had heard was that if you followed Jesus, most of your problems would be solved, and things would be a lot better. I must have heard wrong.
Following Christ can get you killed in certain countries. You can lose limbs, be thrown into prison, locked out of employment, not to mention be sold into slavery. And then there are the emotional risks. Take, for example, that God is in the business of working out our salvation with us, and that doesn’t always mean a safe trip to the store.
Sometimes it can mean betrayal, or loss of job. Other times it can mean losing sight of Christ, and feeling utterly alone, as if He has deserted you. This following Jesus is most definitely not safe.
There are numerous risks, and always there is the call to trust Him, the single, most difficult thing for a human being to do. To hand over control to Christ is akin to twisting our arms round and round until they break off. Imagine running around this world without arms. That’s what believing in Jesus can be like sometimes.
All in all, I have seen the risks, heck, I have tasted the risks, and still, I think following Jesus is the best thing to do. I watched today as a lady who had recently had double hip replacement surgery, knee replacement surgeries, and back surgery, along with loss of income, praise Jesus for all the good things He has done in her life. Simply amazing.
A few weeks ago, another lady praised Jesus, having suffered the abuse of a husband, and a house fire which stole her child, and her arm. She was in a coma for a while after the fire, and she didn’t learn of her child’s death for a days after she woke up. Yet there she was, praising God for all of the good things He had done in her life. Incredibly amazing!
Yeah, believing has great risks. But somehow, we thank God for all the good He has done in our lives. In the end, following Jesus is the best thing in the world, despite the risks.