Embracing the Hard Parts of Healing

About a month ago, my son had a terrible fall while playing in a game for his school’s basketball team, breaking his tibia at the growth plate and fibula. It landed us in the ER and scheduled for emergency surgery. Less than 24 hours after the accident, he was discharged with two new screws in his ankle, a wheelchair, and a rather vague idea of when he might be back on the court. While he handled it like a champ, we all felt the blow and knew we had a long journey of recovery ahead of us.

Oddly, I could relate. Several years ago, I broke my foot and had an incredibly long recovery that required an immeasurable amount of patience. I knew that we were in for quite the same with my son, because this boy is ACTIVE. He LOVES his sports! So much so that on the way home from the hospital (against my better judgement!) he wanted to get to what was going to be the toughest game of the season so far. He wanted to be there with his team, and his father was 100% supportive. So, on we went. And it didn’t stop there because after several hours of being home, he was found sitting on a stool outside in front of his basketball hoop taking shots while his friend took the rebounds and blocked his leg! Needless to say, “patience” was not exercised, and this was Day 1!!!

As believers, we know that God uses everything for His good (Romans 8:28). So, naturally, as hard as this was going to be for my son, I knew that it was also going to be just as much of a spiritual healing as it is a physical healing. And as hard as it is to see your child hurting, there is something powerful about putting trust in the Lord that He will use this, and what sweetness for my son to get these lessons at his age. I often tell my friends with younger kids, as much as our default may be to protect our children, we can’t protect them so much that the Lord can’t do His work. So I have advised them to “embrace the hard.” Be grateful that they are working through hard things with you and under your roof. They will be stronger for it, and you will be there right alongside to cheer them on. So with this healing comes some lessons I’m grateful that God is teaching him, and God has taught me, through inconvenient, tough, and even painful circumstances.

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. – Isaiah 30:18

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

God is in the waiting. This healing process will be a 12+ week journey for my son. This is requiring a great deal of patience for him and for us. But if we focus on what God can do through that time, versus the fact that there is so much time, the time will not go wasted. He will use all of this to His glory if we let Him. If we seek Him, we will find Him in the waiting. He is there to strengthen us, to renew our minds, and most importantly to give us hope.

It’s okay to be still. When asking my son this week what he’s been learning through this setback so far, his response made me chuckle, but I quickly realized it was rather profound and I very much related to it as I recalled my own injury. He shared his displeasure for laziness. That did not surprise me because he is an incredibly active young man. And I know just how he feels. I have a very hard time pausing to relax, or be still, and I certainly didn’t like being held back by my injury. But as he has learned (the hard way), being still doesn’t mean just passively staring at the wall or a screen and doing nothing. Being “still” can actually be quite active. (I wrote more about that here.) God uses that too. And even better, He encourages us in it, as Moses shared in Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

God wants us to depend on others. We were designed to thrive in community (Genesis 2:18), and make no mistake, God uses His people to be His hands and feet here. When we let others help, we are receiving His blessing and in turn, letting others be a blessing.

It takes obedience to heal properly. Following doctor’s orders, doing the physical therapy exercises, taking care of ourselves while we heal… it takes obedience, and a commitment to doing what’s needed to heal properly. As Christ-followers, we have the ultimate handbook and role model for learning obedience. We have learned from our Creator that when we are obedient and surrender to His authority and plans for our lives, His plans are much better (1 John 3:24). So naturally, the obedience it takes in the healing journey will yield results far greater than if we ignored the counsel and/or tried to do things on our own.

Once healed, we’re stronger than we were before. With the lens of eternity, on the other side of healing is restoration. Whether on this side of Heaven or in Heaven, Jesus came so that we may be healed. In fact, the whole story of the Bible is about this very promise. And He gives us great hope on this side of Heaven: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19). Merriam Webster’s definitions of the word heal include, “to make sound or whole…to make well again… to restore to original purity or integrity…” Jesus does all of this. He is the great Healer and Restorer.

There is no doubt that healing is a journey. Physical, emotional, spiritual…all of it. But how amazing that we have a Heavenly Father who wants healing for us and will be with us in each step of our healing journey. As a matter of fact, it’s in the journey that many people encounter Him for the first time. Because that’s Who He is. A loving Father who chases after us and meets us in our brokenness.

A dear friend sent this song to me some time ago when I was in a season of waiting. It gives us great hope to know that He’s in the waiting, and I’m excited to see what He teaches my son in his waiting.

“Take Courage” by Kristine DeMarco, Starlight
Take courage my heart,
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

Dear Heavenly Father, I’m so grateful that You are with us in the hard and in the waiting. It gives me great hope that You are never failing. I pray that my son grows closer to You in his healing journey and ask for complete restoration of his leg. Thank you for your boundless love for us. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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