It's a lot like a splinter, which can slip so painlessly into a finger. We may not even know about it, until a few days later when infection sets in. Then the finger gets swollen and is painful to the touch. It rages red and that thing has got to come out.
What went in so innocently is a real bugger coming out. There's digging, sometimes there's blood and there's almost always pain.
I have never had a particularly high pain tolerance. I have a vivid memory from when I was about 8 years old. I had a splinter in my foot. It took two adults to hold me down while another pulled that thing out. I kicked, I screamed, I thrashed around and made quite a production out of the process. Of course, as soon as the splinter came out I was fine and even thankful that it was removed.
God has been digging around in my heart a bit, and it hurts. I confess that my first reaction was to fight against the process. Then I finally settled down and spent some time praying and I realized that my heavenly Father is working in my heart because He is answering my prayer. He is making me more like Jesus. I can't be like Jesus if I am selfish and therefore, there are some things that need to be rooted out. I can fight and make it difficult, or I can surrender and allow God to work in me. I choose to surrender.
I venture to say that most of us have splinters in our hearts. They are remnants of our life before Christ and slivers of our culture that slipped in there without us even realizing it. If we truly want to be like Jesus, we must allow God to reveal these things remove them.
Hebrews 12:5-7 says, "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"
Because of this work that my heavenly Father is doing in me, I am even more confident in His love for me. I can honestly say that I am thankful for this work and I'm trying me best to sit back and let God do His thing without putting up a fight.
Is there a splinter in your heart? Surrender to the Father. Know that He loves you and allow Him to make you a blessing to the world around you.