I have never had a broken bone. I don’t know whether to chalk this up to my calcium intake or my cautious nature (neither of which are particularly high), but either way, I’ve avoided it. My kids, on the other hand, are another story.
One of my daughters has suffered from a broken arm three times. Each time, she was doing something she’d done many times before: climbing into her booster seat at the table, sliding down the short indoor slide in the playroom, swinging on the swing set on the school playground.
The older of my two sons has been more inventive with his breaks. He broke his elbow sliding to block a goal while playing soccer…by himself…in our carpeted basement. He also broke his finger while trying to crack open a coconut in the church parking lot during Vacation Bible School.
Last week, we received word that our youngest child, our adopted son we’re trying to bring home from Africa, broke his collarbone. My husband assured me it was going to be fine. He said if a kid was going to break a bone, this was a good one because it heals quickly. This was some comfort but my heart was hurting for our four-year old son who was in pain and thousands of miles away from me.
To help me visualize his recovery, I asked my husband for an explanation of how bones heal. He told me how the body is designed for just this kind of situation. He said almost as soon as the break occurs, special cleansing blood clots form around the area. The immune system sends in cells to clean out the break to prevent infection. Then a soft callus is formed, followed by a hard callus. These protective barriers cocoon the miracle happening inside: new bone cells growing on both sides of the break, meeting to bridge the gap. Finally, the body sends in special cells to break down the hard callus and remodel the bone to its original state.
When I first heard that our young son was suffering from a broken collarbone, I was distraught. No mother wants her child to be in pain. It’s human nature to avoid suffering. But the Scriptures tell us that suffering—both physical and emotional—is part of life. We stumble and fall. We get sick. Our bones can break and so can our hearts. Fortunately, there’s a plan for healing. There’s a system in place to clean out the wound and build it back up. It may take weeks or it may take years. The broken section may never look exactly the same as it did before but healing is possible.
“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18