In youthful bliss, he let his imagination conquer the day. The sun shown bright; warming his skin to the point that a cool breeze would send goosebumps up his slightly sun burnt arms. In his world the playground was his kingdom and he ruled over the empty swings that creaked in the wind. Though he was alone at the playground, there was no end to the evil knights he had to slay to protect his kingdom. In his eyes the branch he wielded was an elegant sword that could cut down an enemy with a single blow. He struck the final blow to the last standing antagonist, sheathed his stick, and began to stroll through his kingdom. He slid his hand along the wooden rail of his balcony, and as a sharp pain pierced his fingertip his kingdom came crashing down.
He looked down and embedded just under the skin a little brown dot pinpointed the source of the pain. This wasn’t his first splinter, and he knew right away what it was. As a pool of tears began to well up under his eyes the world of his imagination was lost. Frantically he began pinching the area between the fingers of his other hand desperately trying to get it out, but it was too far under the surface to be able to get to it. The pain continued to intensify as his nerves throbbed trying to make him aware of the obstruction that needed to be removed.
Noticing his son had stopped playing the father called out, “Is everything okay, son?”
Embarrassed and afraid that his father would try to remove it the son replied unconvincingly, “Yeah.”
“Are you sure?” Said the father, knowing that something was wrong.
“I’m fine,” reassured the son.
As to not draw more attention the son ran over to the swings and hopped on. He remembered the last time he got a splinter, and his father had to get it out. It hurt really bad, and he didn’t want to go through that again. As he gripped the warm chain of the swing the pressure shot another sharp pain through his finger tip. As to not call his father to alarm, though, he winced through it, and as he swung back and forth a hand full of times the pain started to subside. The tears air dried, and he was able to maintain a sense of normality that he thought would fool his father.
“Time to go,” his father hollered at him.
He swung back for full momentum and pushed forward leaping off at the top of the upswing. As he landed his knees buckled and he caught himself with his hands, sending another sharp pain into the tip of his finger. He bit his lower lip trying to not cry as the throbbing came back. He wiped the single tear from his eye and ran towards his dad so that they could set off for home.
On the car ride home he glanced down inspecting his finger, hoping that there would be some piece of the sliver that he could grab onto. He picked at it once, and then looked up to see his fathers eyes staring back at him through the rear view mirror.
“Whats wrong with your finger, son?” He heard as his fathers eyes clearly showed concern through the reflection.
“Nothing!” He exclaimed knowing he’d been caught looking at it.
“Is it a splinter?”
“I’ll take a look at it when we get home.”
Dread filled his gut as he knew what that meant. Tweezers! No, no, no, anything but the tweezers! His memory shot back to the last time he had a splinter. The sharp pain of his father pulling at his skin. The frustration of him not getting it the first time, because he flinched. The terror of feeling the tweezers dig in for a second attempt. No way, not this time! He was going to make a run for it the second they got home.
The car pulled into the driveway, and like a well trained track star the sound of the door unlocking triggered his twitch muscles like that of starting gun. He jumped for the handle and was out of the car faster than his father could turn the ignition key off. He didn’t look back, he sprinted to the door and swung it open. As he breached the threshold he quickly slammed the door behind him and ran up the stairs to his room. He pushed the door shut and stood against it. As quickly as his brain hinted a sense of calm he realized he had trapped himself. He heard the front door open and shut.
“Son? Where did you go?”
He didn’t speak a word. He wasn’t going to make this easy. His father would have to at least look in three or four places before the torture would begin. He knew that it was only a matter of time before the inevitable would happen. As the minutes ticked by, however, the footsteps up the stairs didn’t come. He started to wonder if his father maybe forgot about him. Relieved he walked over to his bed and laid down. He looked at his finger again and it was starting to hurt around the splinter now. A red hue was starting to show around the obstruction, and it was starting to burn. He decided to ignore it, and just learn to live with it, but he was starting to get hungry. He looked at the clock and realized dinner would be soon. He decided he wouldn’t go down for dinner unless he was called down. He’d skip dinner if it meant not having to face his father and those tweezers.
Dinner time came and passed. Where was his father though? Why wasn’t he coming to fix it? Why didn’t he call him to dinner? It started to bother him that it appeared his father didn’t care enough to come help him or feed him. How dare he! He decided this could no longer stand, and his stomach was rumbling. He opened his door and walked down the stairs.
“Father?” He asked peeking his head around the corner of the stairway.
“Were you going to call me for dinner?” He questioned, figuring it was best to start with a safe question.
“You knew it was dinner time, and didn’t come down.” His father stated, turning it back on him.
He caved, “I didn’t want you to get your tweezers.”
“Oh, so it is a splinter?” His father coyly questioned.
He looked down at his finger, and figured he should finally admit it, “Yes, I got a splinter on the playground.”
“Why didn’t you want me to fix it? Didn’t you want to feel better?” His father asked with a soft tone.
“No, it hurts too much when you use the tweezers. Isn’t there any other way?” He pleaded.
“If you want to get it out? No. And it will be quick. Then we can eat.” His father said calmly.
“Are you mad at me?” The child asked.
“No, I just wish you would have come to me sooner, son. It wont go away on its own. The faster we fix it the faster you can get on with life as normal,” his father stated with determination.
As the child walked over to the couch and sat down the father walked into the bathroom to retrieve his tweezers. The father made his way over to the couch and sat down. He placed his son’s hand in his lap face up. The son looked away and prepared as he felt his fathers fingers put pressure around the sore area on his finger. He felt the cold metal touch his finger and he pulled away.
“AAOOOWW!!!” He exclaimed as he pulled his hand away from his fathers grip.
“Hold still, I will get it out quick if you just let me get to it.” His father said slightly frustrated grabbing for his hand again, “Do you want this splinter out or not?”
He nodded, and his father recommenced the pressure on his finger. He felt the cold metal once again and felt it squeeze together pinching his skin. He cried out again and pulled his hand away. Something felt different though. He opened his eyes and glanced over at the tweezers his father was also inspecting. There in between the clasped shiny prongs was a little speck of something pointy and brown.
“Got it!” His father proclaimed proudly.
He hugged his father in relief, “Thank you!”
“You are welcome. Now remember to be more careful next time so we don’t have to do this again,” His father spoke to him in simple wisdom.
The relief of the moment felt amazing, and as his father walked to the kitchen to warm up the food he had made for him earlier the son could not believe that he had fought so hard to not feel the relief of having the splinter removed. He thought his father would be mad, but he wasn’t. He just wanted to heal him. He hoped that there wouldn’t be a next time again, but if there was he promised himself he wouldn’t fight it so hard then.
We have all been here, both physically and spiritually. Spiritually we sin and we think to ourselves, I can get it out myself. I can fix it myself. But no matter how much we pick at it it only digs itself deeper in. We need our Father to remove the sin, it is the only way. The best part is He will do it the second you release it to him to be taken out, and he will do it full of grace wanting nothing more than to heal you. If you read through this the first time thinking it was simply a story about a father and a son, re-read it again this time looking at it from the perspective of you, God the Father, and sin. Thank you so much for reading!