Ever heard of a tibial tubercle transfer? Yeah. Neither had I until our middle daughter needed one. It isn’t fun either. Layman’s version: the leg bone connected to the knee bone doesn’t move properly and has worn away all the cartilage; therefore, the surgeon goes in and moves one of the lower leg bones and screws it into place so it works better. (That, plus they pasted in some cartilage cells to re-grow the necessary padding in there. Let’s hear it for Elmer’s!)
Amazing. Simply amazing.
The point is, knee surgery is painful. Okay, not the surgery itself since the patient is asleep. For the patient, the surgery is the easy part; it’s the recovery and physical therapy that kicks you in the teeth. She ended up with four machines at home for recovery as well as some pretty excruciating exercises. Hours a day, literally.
Then there was the battle axe of a physical therapist, God bless her, who won’t waste time with whining about how much it hurts, isn’t afraid of a few tears from her client since she knows that pain is just part of the process toward complete healing.
Our daughter had to have a second surgery a few weeks later because internal scar tissue had built up too fast around the site preventing the needed movement. I was here for that surgery, and saw the photos the doc took to prove that our daughter’s knee could bend the full 130 degrees. (Of course, this was under anesthesia.) Now it was a matter of pushing through the pain to get to that full range of motion.
Truth is a great motivator, because pain can distort the truth. Pain can be deceiving if I allow pain to define my reality. Sure, if I put my hand on a glowing hot stove, the pain tells me to take it off, thus preventing further damage. (Ask me how I know this, a vivid childhood memory…)
On the other hand, just because something is uncomfortable, even painful, doesn’t mean it will always be that way. Many times, (most times?), pain is just part of the process to full restoration. Not merely physically, but emotionally, mentally, and—the core of it all—spiritually. That’s where knowing Truth is important, allowing the truth, not the pain, to define the process and inform my vision.
I’m sure hanging on the cross was summarily unpleasant for Jesus. However…
“Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
This gives me pause to consider that His Truth is not relative, but sees beyond my immediate circumstances. Like the photos provided to our daughter to encourage her to push through the pain. It will hurt, but it will not damage. In fact, it’s just an expected part of the gaining full spiritual mobility.
Which is what Jesus has in store for all of us.
Hebrews 12:2 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.