I got a sliver yesterday. A thick black one that wouldn’t budge no matter how hard I pinched and pressed and nibbled and shook my finger. Absolutely, totally stuck.

And then this morning, I gave it a gentle push and FWUPP! Out it came. And God spoke to me about how this incident paralleled something that also happened yesterday. BTW, I think this happens more often than we realize — parallel messages, speaking into other things going on in our lives. Read the prophets… God often says, “This is like what my people are doing.” Parallels.

Anyway, here’s the rest of the story.

Our family went on a bike ride last night, and Noah was in a foul mood to begin with. He doesn’t want to go AT ALL. So I’m already a bit frustrated with him. Suck it up, kid.

Two hundred yards into the ride, I glance back, and Noah is a hundred yards behind, peddling like mad in like third gear. Heat claims me. “NOAH, CATCH UP, PLEASE!”

He’s not catching up. He can’t in the gear he’s in. “NOAH, PUT IT INTO A HIGHER GEAR!” The kid is eleven, he knows how to shift gears. He puts it into the HIGHEST gear, so now his legs are going in slow motion.


He shifts into first gear, his legs spin like a fan on fire, and his chain comes off. He’s being a smart alec. Trying to prove a point. He’s a pre-teen, after all. I pull him aside. Try to calm myself. “Noah, you don’t have to react in extremes. First gear. Twenty first gear. Pick the middle. Adjust a little at a time. if you don’t smarten up, I’m going to sell your bike and buy you a kiddie one with a banana seat and get rid of a bunch of the stuff in your room.”

We finish the ride mad at each other. I sensed that I had something more to say to him, that God wasn’t done with me yet, but somehow felt, “Wait.” I lay back on my bed and asked the Holy Spirit to show me what I needed to see. Where my anger was coming from. He showed me that the reason I was so mad is that I was looking in the mirror. I tend to react in extremes too. I had done it with my threats of discipline. Aw, crap. I feel my heart soften.

I had to see that before I talked to him. So I lay down in bed with him and we talked there, in the dark. I confessed and apologized, and so did he. But how does the sliver fit? Like this: Sometimes our sin is really entrenched and we’re too stubborn to see our own culpability. Sometimes God needs time to soften us before the sliver comes out. When he does that, it comes out easily, and we can move on.