Boneless Skinless Lips by Carolyn Hayward Tucker

Keys to the Kingdom By Carolyn Hayward Tucker


I had dipped out some chocolate ice cream into a bowl, shoved in the spoon, and then left it on the counter while I did a quick chore. When I returned and took the first bite, my lower lip stuck solidly to the frozen spoon. (The stories about little kids being told to lick a frosty flag pole suddenly flashed through my mind.) I couldn’t believe this painful disaster was happening to me in my own kitchen by my own hand! Before I could get my lips and clinging spoon to the water faucet, the spoon fell off my lips and took the skin with it. I immediately looked in the mirror and discovered that my lipstick was running. Except I wasn‘t wearing any — it was blood! I was surprised to find that my ice cream-eating experience had ended so very badly.


Life is full of surprises — some are good and some are bad. When the bottom drops out of our world, that’s when we look up and reach out to the One who can rescue us. We all live with the challenge of pressing on in the bad times (trials). In the Old Testament, we find that David didn’t cave-in during hard times. When David and his mighty warriors returned to Ziklag (their headquarters), they found it had been burned with fire and all their women and children were taken captive. The men wept until they had no more strength to weep and then, as a bad surprise to David, his own trusted men talked of stoning him. “But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God (1 Samuel 30:6 MEV).


Times of calamity can fall on us without any warning. When your shins have been kicked until they’re skinless and you feel like throwing in the towel, throw in a heart-felt prayer instead. David trusted God and knew how to get ahold of Him. And when he did, he and his men found the strength and courage to double down and recover everyone and everything that was stolen. A wishbone does no good when a backbone is what’s needed.


Later, David wrote a song of thanksgiving and praise after the Lord delivered him from all his enemies: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior; the one who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise and He saved me from my enemies” (2 Samuel 22:1-4 NLT).


Life’s trials are opportunities for a believer’s faith in God to grow. I don’t particularly like that statement, in fact, I don’t like it at all. But I know it’s true because I’ve personally experienced it. Plus there’s scripture to back it: “My brothers, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4 TEV).


When God strengthens your backbone and encourages your heart, you’ll come out stronger in the end than at the beginning. The following hymn lyrics were written by G. A. Young:  “God leads His dear children along. Some through the waters, some through the flood. Some through the fire, but all through the Blood. Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song in the night season and all the day long.” Your finest spiritual growth may be the outcome of a painful surprise in your life.


The Key: When your lips are skinless and bleeding, God will be your place of healing.

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