It’s been six weeks since my rotator cuff surgery. The recovery has been difficult but I have to admit that I’m pleased that it hasn’t been as bad as so many portrayed it. I’ve regained about 75% of my range of motion … improving every day. I have a great Physical Therapist in Doug and I’m confident that under his direction I’ll regain 100% movement and strength (which we just began to work on last week).
But I have to do the work. I have to follow through on the stretching, the exercises, the icing. No one else can do it for me. And I have to do it knowing that it will hurt, knowing that I have to stretch to the point of discomfort, and at times some pain. I’ve been told that most who fail to regain complete use of joints following surgery fail because they do not follow through on the assigned exercises … usually because of pain. So I visit with Doug twice a week and choose the twice daily pain of pushing my limb toward new limits. Every time I push through, even in small increments, I regain freedom and strength. So I choose pain. It is the only way I’ll ultimately recover completely.
[analogy alert!] This is so much like the Christian life! We often have to push through painful circumstances and events, even chronic spiritual pain, if we wish to gain maturity. Sometimes we break something, we fall into sinful patterns, make unwise choices, and damage our souls. Recovery from that definitely involves pain that leads to healing. Been there. Done that. And we have to choose that painful course rather than avoid it even when it means facing that spiritual and emotional pain daily. Every time we push through it helps us, even in small increments, regain our freedom and strength in Christ.
Today was dark. Very dark. For a long time. Sixteen hours or so. Not just from the thick clouds and snow. Today is the shortest day of the year. And here in the Northwest, that means just a few hours of light. Assuming the Sun even shows up. And today is the official beginning of Winter.
Which means that beginning tomorrow the days start getting longer. Only 38 seconds longer. Longer nonetheless! And I like sunshine. A lot of sunshine.
But I like the lesson of the Northwest seasons. Each year we can trust that Winter will not be forever, Spring will arrive. Summer will come. We don’t get too settled in the pleasant times. We also know that the Winter storms will return. So much like life isn’t it? The dark times are not forever. Despair, frustration, fatigue, hurt, pain and the rest will diminish. The light will return. At least for those who walk in Christ. The great prophetic promise of Mary regarding Jesus calls us to this remembrance in this season:
Luke 1:76-79 (ESV)
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
I’ve been reminded lately of how much of our prayer seems to focus merely on alleviating the immediate negative circumstances around us or others. Nothing wrong with praying for relief from pain, or for healing, or for reconciliation. I think we miss it when we fail to also pray that we, and others, might respond appropriately and biblically, even if the circumstances never change.
Is it not true that our thoughts, our prayers for ourselves, and those we love, and our conversation, is almost entirely aimed at getting rid of the negative at any cost – rather than praying that the negatives might be faced in the proper attitude? how much prayer do we make for our children and those we love that they may indeed be willing to walk by the Grace of God, through the steps of rejection and being slain? – Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality.
A big shout out to Mark for passing on this helpful video from J.C. Penneys. Men everywhere will be warned as it goes viral.
These two videos are really quite funny. These pastors’ wives may have gone over the top a bit, but there is a very real element of truth in both.
Before He Speaks captures a peculiar issue of certain preachers with interesting families. And Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Pastors is a bit too close to home for me … and probably a few others in ministry. The bit at the end with the cell phone is great!