Reading through the Old Testament each year makes me grateful I was born in this dispensation of Grace. I often feel sorry for the prophets whose lives were directed by God as analogies of His impending judgment upon Israel. However, lately, I have wondered if God may be directing my life as an analogy as well.
Recently, at a private retreat - I was doing water aerobics - trying to be healthy and take care of my body. I was feeling good about my commitment to start each day with exercise. I didn’t realize how close to the pool’s edge I had drifted until the cement steps and my right foot connected! I knew by the excruciating pain and the audible crunch, that something was broken!
After accessing the situation, I thought, “Thank God it wasn’t one of my important toes!” I felt like it could have been worse - because it wasn’t my big toe - or even my pinky toe... it was the "this little piggy had roast beef" toe. However, the pain from that insignificant broken toe stopped me in my tracks!
I limped for two weeks... through the remainder of the retreat; then home, to church, through housework and laundry, packing and airports; then on to two Ladies Conferences! I had never even thought about that particular toe before! I guess I had taken it for granted. But for days... that toe was all I could think about! Every fiber in my body sent prayers and healing thoughts to that sweet little toe 24/7!
As I packed for the conferences on my schedule, I searched my closet for shoes that would fit over my swollen toe without squeezing it. Of course, the only ones that even half-way worked were casual sandals that had seen their better days! Regardless; I wore those silly shoes right up on the platform - and even changed my wardrobe, hoping to disguise the fabulous footwear!
Right in the middle of this "toe-tally" humiliating experience - God spoke so profoundly to me; “This situation is just like the body of Christ?”
No toe left behind!
What? Yes, sometimes even in the middle of revival, growth and good times - people get hurt.
The pain of the broken is excruciating; yet they feel they are of no value to the body. They feel unimportant and insignificant. In reality, when one member is hurting - the whole body just wants the pain and brokenness to stop!
Shortly after my injury, I learned that if I "Buddy-taped" the broken, wounded toe to a strong healthy toe, I could stabilize it. Altho the pain was still there - the warmth and stability of the stronger toe seemed to hasten the healing.
I pulled out my Bible and found myself reading the twelfth chapter of Romans. I made these notes as I noticed several verses speaking to my heart.
Verses 4 & 5: All of us have different gifts and qualities, but we’re members of the same body - the body of Christ. (You are important little toe! Just get well!)Verse 9: Cling to the good. (Buddy-tape!)Verse 10: Be kind to one another and honor one another. (Yes, I am icing and elevating this entire foot!)Verse 12: Be patient in suffering and affliction. (Oh Lord! I am walking slower than a snail and look like I can’t afford a decent pair of shoes! Okay - I’ll be patient!)
This unique message from God is two-fold.
First of all, to the healthy members of the body… please remember this:
The broken, wounded members among us need the strong, loving members to hold them together until they are healed and whole! Be patient and sensitive. Be okay with being the “buddy” they can be connected with. Be willing to be the strong one for as long as it takes them to recover and heal.
And then to the broken ones…
Don’t be stubborn and impatient! Use the “buddy-system”. Cling to the strong members. Seek help when you’re hurting. We will never be "Okay" until you are healed!
I sent prayers of love and healing to every broken member of the body of Christ as I hobbled through my painful parable.
Whoever and wherever you are, I want you to know how crucial you are to the rest of us!
You are NOT insignificant!
We can't function 100% without your wholeness and strength.
Until healing comes to you, we will limp along - and pray for a miracle!
We will love and respect the part you play in the body more than ever before.
We will never take you for granted again!
Thank you for your support. You’ve been there, doing your part forever… unnoticed; invisible; unappreciated.
I apologize. And I feel like I’m speaking for every part of the body.
We want you to be whole and healed again… so we can run this race - and win!