Jesus used every day events to help his followers understand more about the kingdom of God and I believe that He still weaves our daily activities into teachable lessons for us.
Since I broke my elbow in February, I have been going to physical therapy (PT). This has been my first experience with PT and I have been thinking about it a lot.
The reasons someone needs to have PT are varied. Usually it is one step in recovery from an accident or disease because the body has been injured or harmed and is not working up to its full potential.
The therapist uses many methods to help the body return to maximum flexibility and efficiency. But it takes time.
There are no quick and instantaneous exercises that will miraculous restore your health; however, with much patience and diligence your body does become whole again.
So it is with our walk with the Lord. There are many times when we are emotionally hurt and spiritually broken. Sometimes it feels like we have been mutilated and destroyed. Other times our pain or confusion is less severe, but we are still broken and need repair.
Often at the beginning, recovery looks impossible. I remember when they took off my splint a few days after surgery and my elbow was able to move only a very minuscule amount. Seeing the vast distance that needed to be overcome felt quite discouraging.
The Lord often allows us to get to that place where we need to face our hurts and limitations. Just as I could not restore the flexibility and motion to my arm on my own, I cannot restore my broken emotions, spirit and soul independently. Ultimately, the Lord is the divine physical therapist, but He often uses others to assist in our recovery.
I have learned that progress in PT requires pain. Sometimes I have told my physical therapist that it hurts too much and she kindly says, “Just take deep breaths.” My physical therapist knows how to skillfully push me to the limit, even when it feels impossible.
Without the pain there is no growth. Healing emotional wounds follows the same pattern. Unless you are willing to allow the pain to surface and expose it to the Lord, there is no progress. Avoid the pain, and we become crippled rather than healthy.
This is where the Body of Christ becomes invaluable. Confessing our sins, hurts, regrets, disappointments one to another is crucial. We all need someone to help us walk to the dark and difficult places in our lives, because if we keep them hidden in order to avoid the pain, we will never be healed.
Yes, the Lord is the Healer, but He allows trustworthy brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ to be His assistants.
Patience and endurance are also a part of PT. You have to keep exercising, stretching and using the muscles so they can be fully restored. Jim and I have often seen the Lord set someone free from a past hurt or regret that once kept them in bondage. That is truly miraculous, but then they still need to actively engage in the steps that will help rebuild their lives in that area where they previously were broken.
Often this is hard and sometimes tedious work, just like doing the PT exercises is arduous. But through it all, the Lord encourages, often through others. Whether it is PT or our spiritual walk, as we and others see progress, He gives us renewed hope.
Physical therapy has been an interesting journey. I am surprised when I unexpectedly realize that my arm can now do something that it could not do two days before. In the same way, when we allow the Lord to heal and then restore our broken and wounded places, we will be amazed as the transformation is occurring.
The process might seem slow. Be encouraged by Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Are you willing to endure the momentary pain to have a hope and a future?