Last week, I wrote about going back to therapy for more treatments on my leg, the bad memories and emotions I knew that would bring up, and my plan for thinking rightly about it. I walked into the clinic focused on Christ, with a prayer-stoked determination to resist taking my eyes off of my Healer, no matter what the therapist’s measurements showed. God was faithful, and he truly did help me to maintain that focus. I, however, failed to take advantage of that help, and I did become somewhat emotional after finding out that I have lost a significant measure of flexibility in the knee. While the extension (straightening) has stayed about the same as when I left, the flexion, or bend, has significantly decreased. This was a surprise to me, because the problem has always been the extension. This flexion issue kind of snuck up on me, and I wasn’t expecting it.
I did manage to hold it together till I got home, but by the time I pulled in my driveway, I could feel my resolve slipping, and those old despairing thoughts starting to circle the drain. Now, I know exactly the right thing to do in situations like this, and I suspect that you do, too. My biblical counselor brain kept saying, “Go get your Bible! Find those passages that have been so helpful to you, and read them and pray!” But my self-focused, self-pitying emotions were also shouting: “Oh, no! How could this have happened? What went wrong? I’ve done everything I can to keep this leg moving. This is surely a sign that the knee is going downhill, and I’m going to have to have another surgery! Who can I call and tell my sad news? I can’t handle this, Etc, Etc.”
Thankfully, the biblical counselor voice was shouting louder than my emotions, and I did go into my room, pray, and read those familiar passages, and guess what—As He always does when I obey Him, He led me to encouragement. The passage I turned to today was 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, in the Phillips paraphrase:
This is the reason why we never lose heart. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. These little troubles (which really are so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain. For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory; it is the invisible things that are really permanent.
There are so many bits of encouragement here! What a good reminder this was for me. Yes, my outward man is definitely suffering wear and tear, but I get fresh strength every day! These troubles really are very transitory. My stiff knee is not permanent, even though it is sunk in concrete! What is permanent is my reward, which will be far more glorious and wonderful than I can imagine.
I simply must do what I resolved to do before I went to that appointment: Look all the time at what is really permanent: Jesus Christ. His power, His love, His mercy, His omnipotence, His sovereignty, His heart. He loves me more than I could ever imagine, and this news today did not surprise Him or confound Him. He knows what I need better than I do, and if that is ten degrees less flexion than last year, then He has a purpose for it. I trust that He will use it for my good and His glory as I keep my focus on Him. Hallelujah! What a promise! What a Savior!