OW!

warning-sign-304370_1280Ever 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.

Welcome to Crete

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I have opinions.  Some are strong ones, like Purdue should win the NCAA tournament this year, (just kidding, but that would be nice.)  Some a bit more ambivalent, you know, mashed potatoes with or without gravy, (unless, of course, it’s Thanksgiving.)

And, like everyone else, I also have my own sense of timing.  I’ve come to the opinion that this faculty is a product of both nature and nurture.  I have recently decided there must be a part of the brain that controls one’s awareness of time, and since Bob’s very nurturing family typically ran late, perhaps this furthers my DNA connection.

I also have opinions about how I like to spend my time.  Actually, the word I should italicize is “my”, which, as a Christian, is usually a theological typo.  As obsessive as I can be about getting out the door “on time”, when it comes to God’s plans, I have a tendency to either drag my feet or ring my hands impatiently, both of which waste His time!

Enter one of the intriguing characters of the New Testament, Titus.  In Heaven, I want to talk with this guy; he’s kind of a personal hero of mine.  A non-Jewish convert to the new religion of Christianity, Titus became a trusted friend and faithful co-worker of Paul.  We read of him overseeing financial transactions, going on missionary excursions with the apostle, as well as being sent into a sticky situation in one of the churches in Corinth.

But my personal favorite is his assignment in Crete.  Paul himself writes this to his younger cohort:

“I left you on the island of Crete…”

Wow!  Paul had intentionally chosen Titus for the task—now that’s an impressive project!  Not bad in one’s C.V. for future ministry options; that is, until we read a bit further down the page with Paul’s travel guide description:

“Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, ‘The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.’”

And then, as if to underline that statement, Paul adds: 

“This is true.” 

Great.  Just great.  Not exactly a K-LOVE cruise with your favorite artists.  Even though Titus was himself a Greek, he had been with Paul, a very learned scholar with high standards of moral living.  Perhaps not a good initial fit for the younger man.  Why did Paul leave Titus there?  To complain?  To despair?

“…so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you.” 

Titus was not without resources.  He had been instructed, prepared, and now the Holy Spirit was strategically placing him for reasons of His own choosing which, I can only surmise, had to do with Paul’s earlier statement:

“…at just the right time he has revealed this message…”

Not only had God now revealed his reconciling message of Jesus to the world, but the time was right for those “lying and lazy” Cretans to hear it also.  God had been working.  Preparing hearts.  Using circumstances.  Arranging and developing and “calling those things that are not as though they were.”  (I love that one.) 

Thankfully, God is still working.  Preparing hearts and using circumstances.  In loved ones, in the government, in the most unlikely and personally uncomfortable situations and scenarios.  We all have our own “Cretian calling”, (sometimes within our own hearts.)

And God is not obligated to ask me about my opinion or sense of timing. 

Titus 1:12,13, 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.

A friend indeed

I don’t quite know what male-bonding looks like, but sister love can go something like this:

A true girlfriend will tell you when something’s amiss that is not showing up in the mirror.

A true girlfriend gives you her last Shout wipe when you spill grape juice on the front of your blouse.

A true girlfriend doesn’t mind (too much) that you snore at the lady’s weekend retreat.

And so it goes…

I like finding true comradeship in the most unlikely places—it’s actually something easily taken for granted. True friends don’t grow on trees; they grow in compost, in the refuse and throw-away parts of our lives.  When it all hits the fan, true friends are at their best.

Here are a few of my favorite examples: Continue reading “A friend indeed”

In other words…

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“The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God.”

Daniel 9:23  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation.