My Utmost for His Highest devotional mentioned "God's Surgical Procedures," which were defined as "His use of external circumstances to bring about internal purification." This got me thinking about surgery on the physical body.
When we undergo surgery it's a planned procedure, whether it's physical or spiritual. The only question is, "Who's doing the planning?" I'm the one to plan a physical surgery. It may not be something I want to experience, but I get to decide whether or not to undergo it and when. On the other hand, God is the one who plans any spiritual surgery, and it occurs when I need it. Quite often, I don't even see it coming, and I'm usually not given any choice in the matter. (Although, to be honest, God's surgical procedures in my life have mainly taken place only after I've failed to respond to His promptings to make necessary changes in my life.)
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." ~ Hebrews 12:11
Surgery is painful. At least with physical surgery, we're numbed and unconscious. If you've had surgery on your body, you know how it feels when the pain meds wear off. Imagine what it would feel like if you were alert when you went under the knife! I've never received anesthesia for spiritual "surgery", though I admit asking for it on several occasions. It's painful to be opened up and have something I've grown attached to removed from my life, but it's necessary if I'm going to be less like a sinful human and more like my sinless Father.
Surgery has its benefits. If all goes as planned (which it always does with God), we're better off for it. As God removes impurities from my life, He replaces them with things far more beneficial. He removes fear and replaces it with trust in Him. He removes anxiety and replaces it with peace. He removes animosity and replaces it with love. He removes sorrow and replaces it with joy, and so on...
Successful surgery requires cooperation. Recovery is much swifter when we follow the surgeon's instructions. Our "shortcuts" tend to extend the process rather than get us through it more quickly, and repeating previous behaviors often erases any benefits we may have received.
I've learned to trust my Surgeon, knowing that after all is said and done, it will be so worth it. God wants to give me more than I could ever ask or imagine. I just need to be willing to allow Him to do His work in my life, rather than hinder it.
Father, I thank you for performing surgery in my life, especially in those times when I don't want it or think I need it. Thank you for your faithfulness. Your joy and peace has more than made up for any pain I've experienced. I love you!