” Ouch”! This is a verbal expression that flies out of my mouth at any moment I feel physical pain. It is used to express my deepest sentiments of dislike and displeasure when my body experiences anything uncomfortable. It defines in one small word that something is not right. When I experience an “ouch” moment I investigate the problem and look for a remedy. It might be aspirin for a headache or a band-aid for a wound, maybe it will be a honey lozenge for a sore throat. All I know is that when “ouch” finds it’s way to my lips, there is something that needs fixed. I can ignore the pain or find a solution. Dealing with “ouch” is entirely up to me and my response.
“Ouch” isn’t always physical. “Ouch” can come from deep within me as well, such as in a spiritual or emotional sense. It can mean that something painful is happening inside that needs tending to. It usually is my response to the Holy Spirit quietly convicting me that there is an uncomfortable part of myself that I need to look at. It is a reminder that something needs fixed. This sort of “ouch” is not remedied with medication or band-aid. It requires a work that leads to confession and repentance. It will manifest itself at various times such as reading a book “Accidental Pharisees”. “Ouch”, that hurts…do my good intentions to follow Jesus sometimes add burdens on to others with expectations that add to the gospel? Maybe so…maybe that needs remedied. Please fix that in me dear Jesus, I don’t want to be a pharisee. This sort of “ouch” moment is revealed by the Holy Spirit and remedied by confession to my Savior and following His lead in the area of grace.
My most recent “ouch” moment came in my study of Mark chapter 6. It wasn’t the physical kind such as a painful paper cut while turning a page, it was the spiritual kind. It was a moment when I was examining an event with Jesus and His disciples, wondering why they were often so clueless and then realized… I am just like they are. In fact, I am probably worse because they had to learn as they walked with Him moment by moment. I have the book beginning to end, the whole picture to study. I can learn from their mistakes and not have to commit them myself…..unless, of course, I have an “ouch” moment. Then I must come to the sad reality that I am no different than the disciples in my own responses. Ugh.
According the the gospel of Mark, the disciples had just come off of being sent out to heal the sick, cast out demons, preach the gospel etc. They had seen Jesus do all of these miracles even to the point of raising someone from the dead. Now, they were surrounded by a hungry crowd of eager listeners. The disciples decided that these people needed to be sent away so they could buy themselves food. Jesus however, thought differently. “You give them something to eat” he said. The disciples reminded Christ that it would take 8 months of wages to feed the crowd of 5,000 plus! At that point Jesus had them bring the five loaves of bread and two fish. Well, we all know the rest of the story. Everybody shared and ate their fill with some leftovers for tomorrow! Talk about a miracle!
Fast forward to Jesus walking on the water. Jesus left to go up the mountain to pray while the disciples were out struggling in the boat. Seeing their dilemma, Jesus walked out on the water to meet them. They panicked and started screaming about ghosts when the Savior reminded them who He was. Now the “ouch” comes up in Vs 51b “They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” What? The disciples had hard hearts? Yes! Why? Because Jesus had performed one miracle after another, sent them out to perform some themselves, fed thousands of people with very little food, walked on the water and they still were spiritually insensitive to the truth! Bingo! Ouch! That’s me!
How many times has Jesus rescued me, provided for me, loved me, etc. and yet I still fret and stew when the finances are tight, when a loved one is in trouble or sick, when circumstances seem overwhelming? After all I read of His miracles, all the ways He proves Himself over and over, I am just like the disciples….I have a hardened heart…and it hurts…”ouch”.
There is one comfort though. Because I have read the end of the book, eventually all of the disciples got it and realized who He was and what He could do. They might have been oblivious at first, but as they began to experience “ouch” in their own lives they grew and changed, becoming more and more like the one who called them.
Praise God for the “ouch” moments in life because those are the ones that bring about the deepest changes and that need the power of Christ the most. He has the first-aid for the hardest of hearts and He is the remedy for softening them. He alone can take the heart of stone that is so hard and turn it into one of soft flesh. He is the answer for all the “ouch’s” in life.