My twin brother has always been the more adventurous one. He’s the one that can light up a room with his witty jokes and Southern charm. It was pretty obvious that he needed a career that wouldn’t keep him hemmed up in an office eight hours a day. It was a shock, however, when he decided to become a policeman. I really thought that he was just too nice to carry a gun and actually arrest people. Fortunately, his stellar personality has enabled him to be successful in law enforcement. We are very proud of him, but even after all of these years we continue to intercede for his protection daily. God has certainly covered him. Still, there was one night several years ago that put our faith to the test. Any loved one of a police officer will tell you they never want to hear the phone ring at 2AM. The night I got that call, I was instantly awake. There was no searching for the receiver or trying to adjust my eyes to the darkness. I sat straight up in bed, grabbed the phone, and prayed the message I was about to get wasn’t a fatal one. It was my mother’s voice on the other end of the line. She was hurried, but not crying, “We’re at the hospital with your brother. He’s been in a bad car accident, but he’s going to be okay. He’s got a broken hip.” The pounding of my heart slowed and relief swept over me like a welcomed breeze on an August afternoon. He was broken, but not dead. He was hurting, but alive. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” (James 1:2). And boy, did we count that news a joy! Weeks passed quickly and his recovery was smooth. Soon after, my brother had us crying tears of laughter as he gave the family his animated rendition of events on the day of the accident. We enjoyed his theatrics, but more than anything we simply enjoyed him. It’s not unusual for life to hand us a faith lesson wrapped up in a near tragedy, and this case was no exception.
There will come in a season in your life when you will be dejected in some way. Yes, even if you have surrendered your all at the foot of the cross, life will eventually wear you down. My brother said that when the car flipped he didn’t even realize he was hurt. He was more concerned about the gas he smelled. When the car came to a stop he immediately crawled out of the overturned cruiser and tried to run away from the car because he didn’t want to get caught in a fire. It wasn’t until he tried to stand up that he collapsed and pain surged through him. He had been so distracted by the possibility of a fire that he didn’t focus on the more pressing matter, his broken hip. The enemy doesn’t work any differently. Things of the world will distract you. They will keep you from focusing on your broken (not severed) relationship with the Father that resulted from operating outside of His will. For example, have you ever been so in love with someone that you compromised your beliefs to keep that person in your life? Then after all was said and done, the object of your affection still decided to move on. You were so distracted by the possibility of what that person could become to you that you didn’t focus on the real issue of trusting God’s promise for your husband (wife) on His terms. You were left broken, regretful, and wondering why you didn’t see it from the beginning. Or maybe you became so distracted by the income you were getting from your career that you dismissed the calling God had described to you years ago. The more ambitious you became, the harder it got to hear the voice of the Spirit. Now, you have all of the things you desired, but still feel defeated and empty. Perhaps, you have been in church your whole life, made good choices, do your best to serve the Lord, yet it feels like anything that can go wrong in your life is going wrong? Day after day you paste on the fake smile and declare the blessings of the Lord, even though you are dying on the inside. You can’t understand the constant trials and it’s getting harder and harder to keep up the façade. Your pride won’t let you ask for the help you need, and you can’t see any way to make it better. As a result, the thought of suicide has started to entice you. The realization that you are outside of the Master’s will can feel like you are carrying a ton of anvils on your back. Nevertheless, please, hold on! Your situation may smell like gasoline, but that’s not the real issue. In reality, He’s getting you ready for spiritual surgery.
When my brother was assessed by the medical staff, they promptly determined that he would need surgery. A pin would have to be placed in his hip. First, though, they had to get his hip back in alignment. The doctor literally applied an extreme amount of pressure to the hip to ‘pop’ it in place. It had to be done. The specialist had to allow the already broken policemen to be in additional pain in order to begin the healing process. My Dad declares I should have been able to hear Steve screaming from the ER in Mississippi to my home in Georgia. I may not have heard him, but rest assured when you cry out, “Lord! Why so much more pain? Why more pressure?” the true Specialist hears you. See, you can’t just leave a broken hip to heal on its own. It’s going to require some type of operation. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, when a person’s hip is broken blood flow is diminished, so that puts the fracture at risk of not healing, especially when the breakage is badly displaced. The faith lesson: when we are displaced, out of alignment with the Father’s will, the Blood flow is diminished. We can’t fully benefit from the covering of the Blood if we aren’t willing to go through whatever is necessary to protect that life giving connection. So, no, you can’t stay in that place of brokenness and just expect it to get better with no exertion. Nothing changes shape unless stress is applied. Every decision we will ever make will have some type of consequence. Some consequences cost us more than others, and even if it feels like God is putting more pressure on you than you can handle, He’s actually just shaping you for repair.
The journal goes on to say that after surgery, getting patients up and out of bed as soon as possible greatly reduces the risk of complications. In order for you to come out like pure gold you have to take the risk of getting caught in the fire. You can believe it is going to hurt. But from what I have seen in my lifetime, a cold fire isn’t worth much. God doesn’t desire to leave you with a deformity or risk an infection. He sees that you are broken, but He is sure there is still life in you. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” (Jer. 29:11). He wants you to get up. He wants you walk toward Him. He wants your recovery to come quickly with no complications. It’s all in the process to make you a better you. Our God is a God of perfection and He desires that you heal perfectly. In your brokenness, you can only do so much. When you get to the point that you have nothing left, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a). Surrendering is not the same thing as giving up. Giving up happens when there is a sense of hopelessness. Surrendering happens you come to the realization that this isn’t your battle and you don’t have to fight anymore. It’s time for peace. It’s time to rest. It’s time to trust God’s promises. Being broken is not the end. It’s purely an opportunity for an upgrade.