Sometimes You Just Have to Endure It!

endurance-Just endure it! I learned a big lesson about that recently. In mid-October (2011) I was at a physical therapy session diligently exercising and building up my legs. This was all designed to strengthen and work out the new knees that were installed in April. I was doing an exercise I had done hundreds of times before and landed wrong on my right foot and broke my ankle in two places. It was a freak accident.

I had never broken a bone in my life, so this was a very different experience for me. The next day the surgeon installed a metal plate and some screws and I thought I was on my way to restoration, but within a month I developed an serious infection and had to have all the hardware removed. So all the progress I made was instantly wiped out by another surgery. 

I also experienced a lot of pain! I had much more with this injury and surgery than I did having both knees replaced. Drugs became my friend as did my lift chair, you know the kind that let you recline but also raises you up so you can stand. I spent weeks in that thing after my knee surgery, but I was back in it again! I even slept in it at night because there was no way that I wanted to climb the stairs to the bedroom.

The rapid healing and spiritual glow I experienced after the knee surgery was not present in this situation. Sure, I knew God was with me, but I didn’t feel Him like I did in April and May. I was able to hobble around some, but the cast, the pain and the inconvenience were very discouraging. I was also very bored!! I had to spend weeks stranded in the house because I couldn’t drive and my wife was working. I couldn’t sit up comfortably at the computer to do anything, so I just stayed in my recliner and turned into a TV zombie! That was not a fun existence! I had very little endurance for walking, no energy and little joy. It was not a spiritual experience at all and I didn’t like it. I wasn’t really mad about things, I was just empty, lonely and blah!

Once I finally got out of the house I started therapy again, for the foot this time. When I tried going to Wal-mart or the grocery store I had to use an electric cart to get around. Those were actually fun to drive, but I figured people thought I was using them because I was too fat to walk. You should have seen the effort I took to try and make my blue cast easily visible. I wanted them to know, “Yes I’m fat, but I could walk if I didn’t have this injury!” It really made me feel weird.

Finally, about 3 weeks ago I started feeling normal again. I cancelled the lawn service I previously hired and decided to do it myself. I began doing more around the house. I was walking in the mall with my wife instead of sitting in the car. I was grocery shopping alone and leaving the electric carts for the less mobile. Winter and most of spring were pretty much devoured by my recovery, but at last things were changing.

As I came out of the situation I asked myself, “Why was this so different? Did I do something wrong? Why didn’t I get a more miraculous recovery like before?” What I discovered was that this was a lesson about endurance, getting through the situation regardless of the circumstances and feelings. Not every situation gets a miracle! Sometimes God just wants us to hang in there.

When you are enduring something, you need to practice God Fixing!  Check out this verse: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!  (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) The key is to keep your thoughts (mind) fixed on God. You have to trust Him, too! There is no peace without faith and confident trust in the Father. The reason I struggled so much was because I didn’t stay focused on Him as I should have. I was distracted by the pain and the frustration of the situation. I wanted it to be easy like the knee replacement was. I wanted to feel His blessing and experience a quick miracle, but that was not His plan this time.

What I learned is that perfect peace is a state of mind, a state of being, not a feeling. You can have peace even if you don’t feel it. If your brain is focused on God you can be at peace no matter what is going on around you. It’s a place to be and I need to choose to go there. When your mind is fixed on God, God can fix the situation while you enter into His perfect peace.

As for the miracle I wanted, I remember how Pharaoh demanded Moses perform miracles to prove God was with him. King Herod wanted to see Jesus do some kind of miracle to prove Himself. God didn’t want me to demand something from Him or to challenge Him to prove Himself to me. He wanted me to endure. The Apostle Paul told Timothy, Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  (2 Timothy 2:3 NLT) Sometimes you don’t get the goose bumps or the miracle. You just have to stick it out.

So, I made it through. Not as well as I should have, but I learned from it, applied the truth to my heart and am moving forward into God’s plan for the next chapter of my life.

May His peace multiply in your heart as you fix your mind on Him and endure as a good soldier whatever experiences come your way.

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