Thy word is a scalpel


“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb. 4:12

Living – What is a living word? A word that can mean one thing one day, and another thing another day. The word has not changed, but everything else has. A living word is a word that you can take with you. It is pocket-sized. It goes everywhere you go, and always has something to tell you.

Powerful – What is a powerful word? A word that leaves you reeling. The word of God is a book that punches you in the face when you look between its covers. A carpet-yanking word (goodbye comfy shag-rug; hello hard concrete). The Good Book is like any good book – it wounds you. It is a traumatic read that leaves you scarred.

Sharp – What is a sharp word? A double-edged sword. A surgical scalpel for the soul. We come to the hospital for healing, but what do we find? The knife. We look for healing, and in the name of healing, we are laid on a table and cut open.


Almost all of the patients we treat at the hospital require some type of surgery. The patients come with club foot, burns and cleft lip. These are all very different conditions, and our patients come from all over the country. Some even come from other countries. But in the end they all face the same bottom line: if they want to be healed, they have to pass under the knife.

No pain no gain. It is a principle that is cliché but true. Often people come to the hospital with bones that were broken and not set properly. They have healed, but they are still deformed. They have arms and legs that are twisted and crooked, and some of them have lived like this for years. In order to fix what has been broken, their bones have to be rebroken so they can be reset. Otherwise they can become infected, and what began as a small fracture can end in amputation.

Physical therapy is hard. You are told to walk when you haven’t been able to walk in years. Maybe you have never been able to walk. It is not something that you can imagine yourself doing, even when you close your eyes and try. Each step is a victory, but a hollow one. If this is what it takes, this pain, then forget it. Bring me my crutches. But each day brings a new dawn and new hope. The impossible is possible. But only through pain.

A boy was badly burned as a baby. He is older now, but has no use of his arm. It is attached to his side, the skin burned together. He wants to lift his arm but he cannot. It is stuck and he is trapped. There is a way out. The arm can be freed. It can be liberated. But first he has to face the knife.


A young man came to the hospital, and he came with a limp. He heard that at the hospital there is a cure, so he came. He saw the other patients come and go. He saw them wheeled into the O.R. and wheeled out in bandages. He saw the slow recovery and the dressing changes. He saw everything. Eventually, he decided that his problem was not so bad. He decided to leave. “After all, I can walk.” He said that he was afraid of the knife. He didn’t want them to cut him. He was old enough to decide for himself. He went home, and he went home with a limp.


“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Heb. 4:13

It isn’t easy to be vulnerable, and you are never more vulnerable than when you visit the doctor. You are laid bare. Opened up and peeled back like a fruit. Everything we manage to hide from others is brought forward. It is exposed and put on display before the one and true judge. An apple may look fine on the outside. We clean up pretty good. Makeup helps. Pinstripes make us look thin. Etc. But cut that apple open and you see what is inside. You will see the rot and the worms.

It isn’t easy, but if we want to be healed, we have to stand before the doctor naked and bare. “A mechanic can’t fix a car unless he looks under the hood.” You cannot lie to a doctor. They will find the truth sooner or later. You may fool others, and even yourself, but X-ray vision sees down to the bone. Beneath the layers of skin and flesh. Beneath the leaky-patches and lies. Down to the marrow, and down to the soul. There all is seen.

We stand in shame and in horror. We know what is down there. We know what has been seen.

We wait for the prognosis like we wait for the verdict. The doctor/judge comes and looks us in the eye. His face is somber. We want to run away but we cannot. He has seen it all – there are no more rocks to crawl under. All has been revealed. But he holds no scale and no blindfold. No stethoscope is wrapped around his neck and he wears no lab jacket. Instead, an embrace. Instead understanding.

“I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”


Cut us open. Any of us. You will find the same thing. You will find corruption and sin. you will find jealousy, greed, envy, lust and pride. Above all pride. We are too proud to admit we need a doctor. Too proud to admit we are afraid of the knife. Too proud to admit that we are sick, for that is what we are. We are all sick. But there is hope, for there is one who said, “I came not for the healthy but for the sick.”

Check it:

Makeup can cover up but it can never erase,
The hidden turmoil that’s behind your face.
Like a contact lens, I need real solution,
Not just cosmetic, I see through the pollution.
The institution of our innocence, I hear the repetition,
They try to treat the symptoms but ignore the condition.
I proscribe the truth and a diet of these rhymes,
To inoculate yourself from the sickness of our times.

This entry was posted in cleft lip, clubfoot, CURE International, poems and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Thy word is a scalpel

  1. Maureen says:

    Wow! Josh, that’s powerfully strong! Well written! So glad of the Word…that’s living and healing!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Josh! Your posts have routinely been insightful and convicting. Miss you guys!

  3. Thanks for sharing, Josh! Your posts are always insightful, well-written, and convicting. Keep them coming. Miss you guys.

    ~Andrew Ketchum

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