“Mom! Megan hurt her arm!”
Nathan’s voice had a concerned edge to it, making my heart race a little faster than normal. Sure enough, as soon as I saw Megan, pale-face and cradling her arm, I could tell she was in pain.
“I’m fine, GiGi. It’s nothing,” Megan said, though I could see tears still welled up in the corners of her eyes. She wiggled her fingers. “See,” she said with a wry grin, “it’s definitely not broken.”
“It may not be broken, but I’d still like to check out your arm. Show me where it hurts.”
Megan pulled her arm instinctively closer. “Oh, really … it’s fine.”
I could see the purple tint of a bruise already beginning to show on the side of her right forearm. “Sweetie, what happened? I can see where you’ve bruised yourself. It must really hurt.”
Megan looked first at Nathan and then at me. “GiGi, it doesn’t hurt me much at all. I just bumped up against the corner where the wall sticks out. I’ll be okay.”
Something about her answer made me feel suspicious as to what really happened, but I could tell Megan wasn’t going to open up yet. I gave her a couple of ibuprofens and suggested she find a quiet activity to rest her arm for the remainder of the morning.
An hour or so later, I saw Megan in the kitchen getting water. A huge knot stuck out, and the bruise was dark in color. I noticed my right-handed daughter using her left hand to get a drink. But after a second round of questioning, she continued to insist her arm was quite alright.
At lunch, Megan winced through the meal, picking up utensils gingerly as if even the slightest movement cause her pain. However, she never uttered a complaint.
By early afternoon, it was obvious to everyone that despite Megan’s bravado, the pain was intense. The arm might not be broken, but I wondered if it was fractured. I also was curious as to why Megan was so closed-mouthed about how the injury occurred.
I called her pediatrician, who said we should bring her in to check for fractures. On the car ride to the office, I said, “Megan, I need to know exactly what happened to hurt your arm. The doctor will need to know how it happened. Bumping up against the corner of a wall shouldn’t cause this kind of pain. So, be honest with me and tell the truth about what happened.”
With eyes cast down, Megan sighed deeply. “I know you will be mad at me. I hurt my arm because I was doing something I shouldn’t have been doing.”
“Megan, it’s okay. Just tell me and then maybe I can help.”
“Well … Nathan and I went into dad’s office. I know we aren’t suppose to go play in there, but we did. First I had a turn sitting in dad’s chair while Nathan spun me around. Then I let Nathan sit in the chair. But while I was spinning him, I somehow flung my arms and my right one crashed into the wall, right on the corner where it sticks out near dad’s desk. I didn’t want to tell you because I knew we would get into trouble.”
“Aw, Meg … I’m sorry you got hurt. I wish you had told me sooner. You and Nathan did disobey a direct rule. But hiding the truth never makes a situation better. You’ve been in physical pain from your arm all day, but your heart has been heavy too. And it didn’t have to be that way.”
Meg smiled shyly. “I know. It was silly not to tell you. I already feel better because the truth is out, and I don’t have to hide it anymore. GiGi, will you forgive me for playing in dad’s office and for hiding the truth about my arm?”
I grinned back. “You bet I will! I’d say your hurt arm is a natural consequence for your disobedience, so all is forgiven. Now, let’s go get this arm checked out.
Megan did need to have her arm x-rayed that afternoon. As we left the pediatrician’s office and headed toward the medical center, I called to the house to let the rest of my kids know it might be another hour or so before we got back home.
Immediately, four voices in the background began to clamor for me to return home so they might come with us for the x-ray. But there was no reason for me to drive ten minutes out of my way to pick them up. “Why on earth would you want to come anyway?” I asked.
“I’m concerned about Megan,” said Julia, a little too enthusiastically.
“Yeah! We want to make sure she is doing okay,” echoed Maddie.
“Well, personally, I just want a free coke and a couple of cookies,” said Joel.
“Yep! I’m with Joel!” said Nathan, his voice gleeful and giddy.
“Aha!” I said. “There’s the truth! I forgot how they have cookies and soft drinks and lots of bowls of candy in the waiting room over there. You people aren’t concerned about Megan. You are concerned about your stomachs!”
“Well, it’s not exactly fair that Megan will get to enjoy the free food when she was the one being disobedient in the first place,” pouted Julia.
“Fair or not, it’s just the way it is. I’m not coming to get you, but I will return home soon.” With that, I hung up my cell phone.
Fortunately, Megan’s arm was not broken or fractured. She just had a deep, severe bruise which took several days to heal.
Afterward, I began to think about Megan’s situation. She tried to hide the truth because she was afraid of being punished because she was disobedient. And then, somehow, despite her failure to obey and in spite of her lie, she was still blessed beyond measure with a free soft drink and cookies as she got her arm x-rayed.
Isn’t God like that with us?
We sin against Him all the time, and then lie to Him about our actions. And yet, He blesses us in so many ways. His love is deeper than all of our wrong doings. His love is greater than our inability to be truthful with ourselves. His love disciplines and yet blesses at the same time.
X is for X-Ray,
and for the reminder that God sees right into our sinful hearts, but loves and blesses His children in spite of it.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. ~1 Peter 4:8