But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
I love Reader's Digest--always have. As a kid I would take stacks of copies to read while soaking in the bathtub. I loved 'Drama in Real Life' and giggled at the humor of 'Life in These United States'.
It was a few years ago in 'Personal Glimpses' that I came across a snippet on James Michener, the renown author of such works as Hawaii and The Source. In the final years of his life, Mr. Michener experienced several major health surgeries and health problems, but continued to write through it all. When asked what kept him productive, he recounted this story:
"When I was five, a farmer living at the end of our lane hammered eight nails into the trunk of an aging, unproductive apple tree.
That autumn, a miracle happened. The tired old tree produced a bumper crop of juicy red apples. When I asked how this had happened, the farmer explained, 'Hammering the rusty nails gave it a shock to remind it that its job is to produce apples."
Michener state that he simply viewed his health challenges as the nails to remind him to produce.
There are times when I am communing at the Savior's table and I think again on the nails that pierced the Holy Hands. I again ask my Father, "Why nails? Why such an excruciating sacrifice? Why could Christ have not experienced a quick, less painful death? The sacrifice of His life would have remained the same. So, my Father, why three immense, rusty, cruel nails?"
And then my Father quietly answers, "Because sometimes you need the shock of the nails to remind you to produce fruit. A sacrifice so great calls for a retelling of its story. He died for your life so you might tell others of His grace. You need the shock of the nails in His pure hands and blameless feet to remind you to be productive for the Kingdom."