I was lying face down fully clothed on a floor mat. She worked with her feet. Kneading my shoulders. Her heels would dig into the tightness, trying to release all the pent-up stress. Attempting to soften the scar tissue from years past. Working to soothe the aches and stiffness of aging. At times, she would use her hands to relax the tightness in my body.
She moved to my feet. Once again, trying to massage out the tightness and pain. She explained the reason for the discomfort. She massaged my back, arms, legs – all were tight.
She sat in a folding chair, moving it around me as she worked on different parts of my body. Fijian foot massage. That’s what it’s called. Effective. Intense. Unforgettable.
The thing is. She understands human anatomy. She can identify problem areas just by touch. She can manipulate muscles and tendons in a way that soothes not only the pain, but it comforts the soul. She can calm tired shoulders and relax tight back muscles.
At times, the body work was soothing, causing me to relax. Other times, the pain was intense. Regardless of the pain, she kept working. She didn’t work in one area too long, but the work she did was effective.
As I lay face down on the floor mat, I was grateful that she couldn’t see me wince in pain and discomfort as she worked out the tightness. But when she had me turn over, I tried to be stoic and not show any indication that I was ever in pain. I didn’t want her to ease up on the pressure.
You see. I wanted her to work out all the tightness in my muscles. I wanted her to help me relax, so I would be able to move freely without pain or injury. I needed this pain as much as I hated it. It was good pain. It meant good things were happening. It was temporary pain.
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. John 15:1-2
I remember times when I felt another type of pain. Spiritual pain. Emotional pain. Loss had occurred. Feelings had been hurt. Wrong decisions had been made. Many different hurts. Not all at once. But seeming to never end.
I have a God who continues to work on the parts of me that are troubled. My unkind words. My bad attitude. My ungrateful heart. My poor decisions. My lack of generosity. My failure to spend time with my Maker. My humanity that needs to be moldable but is like hardened clay.
The thing is. He understands humanity. He created us. He created us to be with Him. He created us to be like Him. Yet we resist. Then our hearts turn to stone. Our emotions become cold. Our patience thins. Our words sharpen. Our goals and dreams are self-centered.
Sometimes his correction is painful. Other times, it is a soothing and calming touch. He’s pruning the overgrowth and shaping my heart to align with His ways. It’s a difficult task that He has, but He alone can do it. He knows the correction is temporary, but has eternal consequences.
He continues to caress my heart so I can feel empathy for those in need. He faithfully draws me to His Word so He can teach me His ways. His patience is never-ending on those days when my patience is cut so thin. He massages the scar tissue of past hurts and lost dreams so I can continue to look forward to the future. He trims the branches of bad attitudes and ungratefulness. He leads me in the way everlasting. Not because I deserve any of this, but because of His love for me. His Son paid the price so I could be made whole.