I have not had enough empathy for people in chronic pain. The week before Mother’s Day, I injured my back — somehow. I don’t really know when or how, but trust me I’m down for the count.
It toyed with me for about 6 weeks, mostly just disrupting my sleep, but in week 7, it threw me to the wall. I have a high tolerance for pain and I have given birth four times, with barely a moan, but the pain from this injury has brought tears to my eyes and left me climbing the walls, looking for relief.
It will soon be 3 months of this.
I handled it pretty well for the first 8 weeks, thinking it was just a minor distraction, and I would bounce back quickly.
Evidently, I don’t do “down” very well. At least not after week 8. I’m so done with this chair!
There are rooms to clean, grandkids to entertain, pictures to paint, and weeds to pull — just to name a few. (I never thought I’d say I want to pull weeds.)
But I want my life back, so yes, working on the jumanji that’s become my yard is calling to me.
The title of my Pastor’s sermon this past week was, “What Do I Do With What I’ve Been Given?” The message was inspired by the story in 2 Samuel when Kind David inquired, “is there anyone… I can show kindness to?” David knew he was blessed. He knew he had many gifts. He wanted to share out of his abundance. I want to take that message and apply it to my life. Yes, I do. And I will. I may even write another blog post about this title and about that application at some point. However today another application is slapping me around a bit.
As I sit here and look at that title, I am thinking about what I’ve been given recently.
An injured back.
A sinus infection.
Lots of quiet time.
Lots and lots of quiet time.
What do I do with what I’ve been given?
Well, to those who love me most, they would say I’ve done a good bit of complaining and whining about what I’ve been given. Fair enough. I know I’ve also been discouraged and a little depressed about my current “non-life”. So there’s that.
My Bible study “homework” this morning, ironically, was from the Book of Job. I actually chuckled when I was directed to that book. And no, I’m not comparing myself or my misery to that of Job, however, there are many lessons to be gleaned from that man’s life.
As I turned to chapter 1 and began to read this familiar story, verse 8 quickly caught my attention. Here is what is says:
Do you see it? God is boasting in Job. God knows that Job has — and will — remain faithful.
God is our biggest cheerleader. I love that.
So when life gets hard and painful and messy, God has faith in us, his children. He is cheering us on to faithfulness and endurance. He knows that path of perseverance is going to make us stronger.
Oh! I can see him on the sidelines, hand raised, saying, “You can do this! Go! I believe in you!”
Can you see him? Isn’t that awesome?
But here’s the amazing thing — it’s not anything we do that makes God boast in us. He boasts in us simply because he loves us. In 1 John we see that God has lavished love on you and me!
And according to Lamentations, He does so every single morning.
Lately I’ve been concentrating on my pain. I’ve been consumed with my “not ables.” I’m not able to do this. I’m not able to do that. I forgot who was on the sidelines.
It’s morning here where I am. So you know what? I’ve just been given a brand new dose of gifts, lavished on me by God.
Look! He’s given them to you too.
And He’s standing by anticipating what we’re going to do with them. That’s pretty incredible, isn’t it?
I think the first thing I need to do is praise God for all that love he just poured out on me — and all those gifts! New again today. Thank you Lord.
The weeds may have to wait, but today, I’ve been given the gift of some down time, and I am able to paint, and I can write, and I can read, and I can fold clothes, and I can do so many things. I can be patient and persevere because I have the best cheerleader on the sidelines.
What are you going to do with what you’ve been given?