Growing up, we usually had two pairs of shoes, everyday/school shoes and Sunday shoes. I always loved Easter because we got new Sunday shoes. Sometimes we wore our everyday shoes on Sunday, but they had to be cleaned and polished. Seems this custom is still with me. Even though I now have several pairs of shoes, some are reserved for Sunday and special occasions. Usually these shoes are not sturdy or good for walking but are made for their “good looks.” On Sunday evening, November 2, 2014, I was enjoying my walk home from visiting my aunt and uncle. Still wearing my “Sunday” shoes, I turned into our concrete driveway and “boom” I was down. My forehead bounced off the concrete leaving a huge golf ball-size lump. Upon sitting up, I saw the reason for the fall. Acorns were scattered all over the driveway, which my Sunday shoes did not like. They were lying a few feet back. I had literally fallen out of my shoes. Upon trying to stand, I could not put any pressure on my arms, so I scooted to the edge of the driveway and managed to get to my feet. I spent a restless night in pain with a swollen left hand and trauma in my right arm. Early Monday morning, Ted took me to our local clinic where x-rays revealed fractured bones. I was sent to an Orthopedic Clinic where I was outfitted with a cast on my left hand, half way up my arm, and a sling for the right arm. I sported a huge lump and a black, swollen eye. I am a doer, and in my opinion this was not good or right. I was “pitiful.”
Hands to Your Side
“Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10). On that Sunday morning I had read a devotion from Our Daily Bread entitled “Hands Off!” written by Joe Stowell. In it he explained that “still” in this verse means to “cease striving” or, literally, “to put our hands at our side.” On Monday afternoon, as I sat with my hands at my side because of the cast and sling, I understood that meaning. Not by my choice, my hands had been put at my side. From this experience I got a clearer picture of how important our hands are. We need our hands to do almost everything. For the first time in my adult life, I was dependent on others to help me with my most basic needs. I wondered, what lessons I should be learning.
A Matter of Pride
As I’ve already stated, I am a doer. I delight in serving others and being there when needed. It has always been difficult for me to be on the receiving end. (Perhaps this is a matter of pride.) With my hands at my side I was in a helpless place where others must serve me. Friends provided meals, drove me to appointments, cleaned our house, brought books and flowers, and showered me with love and care. My husband and sister gave of themselves to make sure my needs were met. It was very humbling and a lesson I needed to learn. I knew I had friends and family, but, wow, did they ever prove themselves! I appreciate more now that they are always there for me. “A friend in need is a friend indeed!”
My Hands to My Side
While no one asks for suffering, problems, and trouble, they are a part of life. If responded to properly, they can multiply our appreciation for the guidance and refuge God provides and make us more sensitive to the needs of others. Most of us, however, have the tendency to want to control the outcome or direct the steps needed to resolve trouble and problems and relieve the suffering. We want God to do it our way. Instead of allowing Him to direct us, we scheme and plan and tell Him how things should be done. When the outcome is not what we want, we tend to murmur and complain and blame God. During this weakened time in my life, fear and worry seemed to invade my mind. For weeks I struggled to gain control. Finally, I surrendered, took my hands off and let the Lord handle the troubling situations. When I did that, a peace and rest came over my mind and spirit. My hands off (to my side) – His hands on! It’s the best way. Author and teacher, Oswald Chambers has given good insight. He says, “If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all. They are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls.”
“The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” –Helen Keller
“We are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
Looking back I can thank God for Sunday shoes and acorns. He used this experience to draw me closer to Himself and to teach me to trust Him more. In my weakness, I felt more the need of God, friends and family… This is written because I care!