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It was a normal afternoon in my daycare. (Okay, let me rephrase that, since there’s really no such thing as normal at my daycare. Unless normal consists of mayhem and chaos. But at least all the kiddos had taken good naps.)  I was stacking the cots to store in their place beside the couch. As I picked up one of the cots, my hand slid up against a wooden cupboard. A large splinter (more like a small piece of wood!) rammed itself underneath my fingernail.

I tried to pull it out, but it was wedged tight. I gave up after a few minutes, figuring I’d need help to remove it. Besides, I had diapers to change, snacks to make, and kids to chase after. It would just have to wait.

As the afternoon progressed, my finger began to throb. Then the pain travelled up my hand. By closing time, pain had reached my elbow.

I fixed supper that night with great difficulty. Even small movements brought searing pain in my finger. By this time, I was convinced I had an iron nail stuck under my fingernail. How could a miniscule piece of wood be causing so much discomfort?

Thankfully, my knight in shining armor (aka my sister-in-law) showed up. Armed with a pair of tweezers and a bright light, she set to work. It took quite a bit of digging on her part, and quite a bit of teeth-clenching on my part, but the firmly-entrenched splinter was finally dislodged from under my nail.

I held the offending piece of wood in my palm. It was thick, as splinters go, but seriously? It didn’t seem big enough to cause so much trouble.

It serves as a valuable lesson:

When something is in the wrong place in our lives, it can cause a lot of trouble.

There are many things in our lives that aren’t sin in and of themselves. But put them into the wrong place at the wrong time, and they can cause a lot of pain.

Money, friendships, and hobbies aren’t wrong. In fact, they are given to us by God to enjoy. But let them take priority over our family, and what happens? They bring us pain instead of enjoyment.

Jobs, houses, cars…are these things wrong? No, of course not. But again, put them on a pedestal above God, and they will send your relationship with Him (along with the rest of your life) crumbling.

Even something as small as social media or watching TV, if put in the wrong place, can bring trouble and pain. Have you ever seen a child desperately trying to get their parent’s attention while that parent is glued to their phone? I have, and it’s not a pretty picture.

Again, I’m not saying these things are wrong. I have nothing against the wooden cupboards in my daycare. In fact, they work quite well for storing toys and daycare supplies. But move a splinter from a cupboard door and put it underneath your fingernail, and it will create a load of trouble.

Take a look at your life.

Is there something bringing you pain? Something that’s causing you trouble?

If so, it could be out of place. Try putting it back in its proper place and see what happens.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)