My Lenten Toe

It was my turn to bathe the children. I was pulling the last clean towel out of bathroom cupboard when the entire shelf slid out with the towel and fell edge-down directly onto my bare big toe. I cursed. Loudly. Repeatedly. My wife came from the kitchen and looked at me. The next day, the tell-tale black bruise appeared under my toenail, low down at the root of the nail.

That scene occurred early in the winter, maybe even late in the fall, and now here we are in mid-Lent and the black bruise is still slowly creeping towards the end of my toe. The pace of its progress feels like how this winter has slouched towards Calvary and how slowly the sun has crept back from the winter nether realms to the south. It’s been a long winter, and this black bruise under my toenail has been a symbol of the blot on my life of sin and death–and the sometimes painfully slow but always surprising movements of God’s grace.

And now, through the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who walk in darkness and the shadow of death.


  1. Henri Young says

    The bruise is a metaphor for history.

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