I haven’t blogged for some time—this time not for the same reasons as usual, but because on December 7th I had a motorcycle accident that resulted in the shattering of my tibial plateau (the broad top to your shin bone). Less than a week later I had surgery to rebuild that part of my leg, and I have been recuperating since then. Part of that has been pain control, and while I now typically take only 1 pill before bedtime, for a while anything I wrote would have sounded like I might have sounded in the early 70s before coming to the Lord.
I am writing now to break back into the flow, and to share an insight I’ve shared with some in my congregation—a few things my injury has taught me. I knew this would happen because the scripture tells us that, while God doesn’t bring evil on us (we do that all by ourselves), he does allow it and then uses it to teach and train us toward righteousness and peace (Hebrews 12). So, I’ve been on the lookout. How will the Lord teach and train me through this experience? Here’s what I’ve come up with—so far.
First, God doesn’t protect me just because I serve him. He never promised to. In fact, he promised it would be the other way around. On the other hand, he is always with me, and there is nothing (including the truly extra-ordinary pain I experienced when my knee slammed into the concrete) I cannot endure with him.
Second, each part of the body is essential to the other parts of the body. The obvious application is the physical body. The area of my body that was injured could fit into the sphere of a softball. But it has derailed my entire body. The rest of the body shares the pain, the limitations, and results of the treatment. The limitations of my right leg force other parts of my body to compensate to the point where they can be hurt. But this isn’t just physical. It is a great illustration of the truth of the body of Christ (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12). When one part is injured, or just pulls away, the entire body is impacted—regardless of whether the injured part realizes it or not!
Finally, and most profoundly, I am learning humility (notice I did not say “have learned”!). As I’ve shared with some of my friends, I have spent my entire life serving others. But whether we want to admit it or not, the role of servant carries its own version of pride. “I don’t need to be served. I am the one who serves” really means “I don’t need others, they need me”. Of course this has always been delusion, but it is demolished in a way that I cannot hide from now. I need my wife to get things for me. I need someone to drive me anywhere I go. I need someone to help me take my wheel chair up hills. I can’t take care of basic chores around the house my wife needs help with. And those are just the things that aren’t too personal to list!
The reality is we need each other. I need others as much as they have ever needed me. And the wonderful thing is that neither God nor his people have failed to be there when we need them. I do have to ask sometimes. How else will they know? But God has made it crystal clear to me that we are equal in the “need” department, and it is only arrogance that would keep me from accepting help offered by my friends and family.
I’m sure this list will continue to grow. My intent is to listen to the Lord as he teaches, and try to pass some of it along to others. In the meantime I’m preaching from a wheel chair—which of course I need help getting up onto the stage!