There was an interesting article in the papers some time back, about how the phenomena of keyhole surgery is fast gaining popularity amongst patients who require invasive surgery. Basically, what this kind of surgery entails is the incision of one or two small holes (hence the term keyhole) near the area to be treated, allowing for an entry point of a plethora of instruments ranging from cameras, to other operating instruments to work on the organ that requires treatment. This article stated that more and more people are opting for this kind of procedure principally because of the small incisions made, resulting in less discomfort and a much better cosmetic result. In short, the benefits and advantages far outweigh the costs involved.
When it comes to our spiritual lives, don’t we sometimes wish that God would use a similar technique to reach into the ailing areas of our lives and perform a painless, transformative surgery with minimal discomfort and scarring, but with good cosmetic result? In other words, what most of us prefer is akin to keyhole spirituality, where we want God to make the smallest possible incision in our lives, with little pain, minimal suffering and hopefully no necessity to give up or change any of our negative attitudes in our own lives. And from this, expect to reap positive results like becoming a transformed people embodying the virtues of Christ.
However, the disconcerting truth is that the opposite is more a truism. It is the people who have done the hard work of really looking squarely at their own lives, recognizing their inner demons and personal weaknesses who are the ones who come out of it much closer to God. They have a deeper appreciation of a shared brokenness, and so, are no longer finger-pointing and mean spirited. It is often the very people who fight shy of doing the hard work of inner self-discovery, to take that necessary inward-journey who end up with little progress made in their spiritual lives. Indeed, what St Paul wrote to the Corinthians is so true – thin sowing does mean thin reaping.
Maybe, we need to see our pains and struggles in a new light, that it is God making some headway into our character formation through the major open wounds that we find so painful. And then perhaps it will finally dawn on us that it is we who have been looking at life through a keyhole, and missing the big picture of the Kingdom of God.