Thursday, August 26, 2010

I'd Rather be Broken

I Would Rather Be Broken Than Crushed
By Brenda Black

My brother was only eight years old when he broke his arm riding a bull in a junior rodeo. His elbow snapped under the pressure of holding tightly to the flat braided rope wrapped around the bull's girth. The break was clean and doctors pinned bone and ligaments back into place and counseled their young patient to give it time to heal. In a matter of weeks, the arm was nearly good as new. And almost 40 years later, he thankfully retains full use of the limb, even if he still bares the shrunken railroad track scar as a reminder of his young rodeo days.

Though my mom was distressed over her boy's injury, she didn't have to worry about complications. Her biggest concerns were keeping the cast dry, and preventing my sister and I from bumping our brother on accident or on purpose. She felt certain Brent's injury would mend and he would be better. It did; he was.

Had the calf fallen on my brother and crushed his arm, the risks would have been much different. While crushing injuries don't appear life-threatening, they can result in death, making them far more alarming than a fracture. Such is the case with victims of earthquakes or mining cave-ins. People pulled out alive from rubble, under which they have been pinned, risk a medical emergency that occurs subsequent to the trauma. Days after an accident, crush injuries can cause kidney failure, then death. The condition is known as rhabdomyolysis and occurs when muscles have been crushed. The muscle ruptures, releasing its cellular content, including particles called myoglobin, into the body. These particles get caught in the kidneys. They can jellify and block the kidneys. If not hydrated regularly, the person is unable to flush out the myoglobin, leading to systemic toxicity.

If that's not bad enough, crushed limbs can also cause other medical complications. The release of potassium and phosphate from the ruptured muscle can result in hyperkalemia -- too much potassium in the blood stream which causes heart problems -- and sudden cardiac death.

The remedy is harsh. For the most extensively damaged limbs, amputation may save a life.

So, which would you rather suffer -- a blow with immediate pain, but a promising outcome if you follow the physician's orders, or a slow and silent side effect from a crushing injury that has left you numb to its deadly danger?

I'd rather be broken. Jesus taught his disciples that brokenness was better than being crushed pertaining to the spirit. “He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” (Matthew 21:44)

The stone is the infallible truth that Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the World. Those who surrender to that truth will be chipped, chiseled, possibly shattered, and certainly altered from their present state. There will be scars that mark the change and it takes time to be fully useful for God here on earth. We have much to learn. But we will heal and we will be better.

I'd rather be broken by truth than damned by a stubborn denial that leaves me thirsty and bruised and destined to die. If I'm not willing to go to the Rock of Salvation, or part with the sin in my life that is slowly killing me, I will be crushed by Truth. For one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I want to be one who bowed willingly.

The only way out of eternal death is to cut off that which is polluting the body. Recognize the silent enemy that steals and kills and destroys. Denounce him in the name of Christ. Fill yourself with life-giving refreshment from the Word of God. Sever your ties with worldly wisdom. Fall on the Rock in order to live.

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