I have a prayer request. Could you pray for healing for me? One week ago, I was cooking ravioli for my children. As I went to pour the boiling water and ravioli into the strainer in the sink, some of the boiling water splashed back onto on my foot. The only thing I was wearing on my foot at the time was a sock. It was painful and my foot was seriously burned.
I have received the best of care for this wound. One of our church members is a nurse who specializes in burn care. But it appears this wound may be more serious than first thought. This burn went deeper than the surface. I have been ordered to bed rest in order to give the wound the best opportunity it has to heal. If the wound does not start to show more improvement, it could result in hospitalization and even surgery. I appreciate all prayers in the name of Jesus. Ask God to heal as he is the Great Physician! Pray also for patience for my wife, Barbara, as she has the extra burden of taking care of me.
The most difficult thing about all this is that I can’t do anything to make it better. When there is a problem, my modus operandi is to take action and get to work on fixing it. But there is nothing I can do to fix it. The more I would try to do, the worse I would make it. The prescription is simply to rest my foot and to allow my caregivers to take care of me. That is hard for someone who is accustomed to taking care of others to receive care.
Then there are all the various things for which I feel a responsibility. There is worship on Sunday morning. There are people in the church who have suffered loss and are in need of spiritual care. I can call them on the phone, but it is not the same as being at the bedside in the hospital. I am again relying on other people like my deacons, to do what I am unable to do. As someone who is there when people are in need, it is hard to be so needy and rely on others.
My wound has broken my pride. It has humbled me. It has been thrown in my face that I am not God. I cannot fix everything, especially myself. I cannot do this on my own and I need help. It is coming to the end of myself to admit this. The emotional pain of the reality of my inability is acuter than any physical pain I have suffered.
As I reflected on this, I realized how it is a picture of grace. We struggle with grace. God gives us grace. He is the source. We don’t have a role in the giving of that grace except to receive it. Receiving grace is admitting to ourselves that we are needy. We think that we have it within ourselves to buy, to earn, or to work for God’s acceptance. But we are more unable than we ever realize. We may confess it with our words that we are sinners in need of God’s help, but it is another matter to believe it in our hearts.
We are a people who by nature are compelled to do something and to have a role in making it right. Instead of letting God fix our problem, we take the burden on ourselves. We reject the idea of being a burden to him or anyone else. Phil Yancey, in the book, What’s So Amazing About Grace says:
“We prefer to crawl on our knees, to wallow, to do penance, to kill a lamb—and religion often obliges us.”
Our human nature compels us to be in control. My wife, Barbara, is a nurse. She will tell me that the worst patients are doctors and nurses. They are not the ones who are accustomed to receiving care. They are accustomed to being in control. So many of us look at ourselves as doctors of our own destiny. We have a much easier time putting our future in our hands than we have of leaving it to God.
There are times when we have church members find themselves in a financial bind. I have a small discretionary fund from which I am able to assist them with temporary needs. The same scene plays out again and again when the recipient of the gift will express how they feel guilty for taking the money. They feel it is an admission of failure for not being able to take care of their money issue. It is a humbling experience for them. No one wants to be a “charity case.”
But we are all a “charity case.” We are all the refugee. We are all the cancer patient. We are all the person confined to a nursing home. We are all the debtor who cannot pay the bills. We are all the victim of abuse. We are all the addict. We are all the homeless guy holding up the sign on the street corner. We are all the leper. We are all the paralytic. We are all the blind man. We are all the sinner. At some place, we are powerless and helpless over our circumstances.
My point is that it is easy to pride ourselves that we are not like the others. We think we can take care of ourselves. We don’t think we need God or anyone else. But when we finally come to grips with our helplessness, we find hope in God’s healing grace.
- Where do you need to admit your helplessness to receive grace and charity?
- Why do you struggle to receive help from God and from others?
- How does understanding your own helplessness, create compassion in your soul?