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Timothy Griffin: Looking Up

Splinters in the Snow

(Timothy Griffin)
October 1, 2012

snowflex1.jpgLast week, my wife and I decided to take our boys to the Snowflex Centre. For those who aren’t local to Lynchburg, Virginia, Snowflex is an innovative facility at Liberty University that offers year-round skiing, snowboarding and tubing. The facility is anchored by a beautiful ski lodge.

Several of my wife’s co-workers had told her of the discounted opportunities available at the facility and she in turn told me she wanted to take the boys. To be honest, as one who prefers to have both feet on the ground, I was a little leery of the whole outing. But, I didn’t let my apprehensions win the battle.

After arriving and signing all the necessary waivers, we proceeded outside to allow the boys to go tubing. My oldest two did the lower level a couple of times and then decided they wanted to graduate to the more advanced upper slope. Again, against apprehensions, I agreed.

To get to the push-off point of the upper slope, it is necessary to put your tube on an automated incline and let it ride up. You have the choice of riding or walking up on either side of the incline. The big boys and I headed up. Momma and the youngest stayed at the base.

I watched both of my boys tube down the slope, beginning to feel a little more at ease. In fact, when I weighed my options for getting back down to the base, I decided to go ahead and jump in an extra tube that was lying on the ground.

I made it to the bottom to the cheers of the boys, who immediately asked, “Can we do it again?” Having sufficiently scoped out the dangers and perils, I said, “You can do it again. I’ll be at the bottom waiting with mommy.”

The boys headed back up the incline and within a few minutes my oldest was coming down again. We then began looking for number two. He was nowhere in sight. As I began to get a little anxious, we looked up and saw him being led back down the slope. Many thoughts begin to race through my head, but one positive thought was, he is walking. As he began getting closer, I saw a look of anguish on his face and I quickly began making my way up to meet him.

looking_up.jpgBy the time I got to him, he was in tears. By the time I had carried him the rest of the way down, he was in early meltdown-mode as only he can do it. The problem was he had gotten a splinter in his hand on the way up the slope. Wow!  I didn’t see that one coming. Of all the big things I could imagine going wrong, I would never have considered a little splinter would be the beginning of the end. I had several valuable lessons reinforced that day.

First, I was reminded that we often have our eyes focused on the big hazard. We think, if we can just avoid that major, potentially devastating thing, we’ll be alright. But we fail to adequately consider the small perils. And just as it only takes a spark to start a fire, it often only takes a small thing to bring us down.  Considering this point spiritually, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and acknowledge Him in all our ways. (Proverbs 3:5)

The second lesson was that although it was just a splinter, it needed to come out. Though my reaction is never that of my son's, I can testify along with him, that no matter the size of the splinter, you feel discomfort until it is removed. You feel the discomfort, because the splinter is something in your body that is not supposed to be there. This can be equated with sin in the Christian’s life that causes discomfort until it is removed, because it’s not supposed to be there.

Finally, as my son found out, though the removal process sometimes brings pain on top of pain, it’s better to remove the object of discomfort sooner than later, because the longer it is allowed to remain, the deeper it will work its way in. The next morning, when I went to finish the process that he wouldn’t allow me to complete the first day, I had to redo much of the work again. As I later reflected, I wondered how often God has had to start over a cleansing process in my life.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)

Timothy Griffin serves as a Campus Pastor at Liberty University. The Campus Pastors Office exists to help produce students who have the highest standards of Christian conduct and Biblical principles so that they may reach people for Christ in whatever venue that the Lord may call them.