A Lesson Not Easily Learned

IMG_1728 Indomitable: incapable of being subdued. Unconquerable.

A friend called me that recently. I knew what she meant. I’m independent. I’m self-sufficient. I have a difficult time accepting help. I can do it on my own. It’s what I believe about myself. It’s what I want to be. Or do I? God says differently. He says we are to submit to one another and to authority. He tells us we were created to function corporately; that together we are the Body of Christ; that alone we can do nothing, but that with Him all things are possible.

Over the past 18 days, I have undergone two surgeries by two different surgeons and been treated by five different doctors. I’ve followed each of their varied instructions as fully as possible, but each has an opinion and none are consistent, except that all agree I will eventually heal from the inside out.

In the process, I’ve earned the title, “indomitable” by striving to maintain our normal, daily routine on my own, unwilling to burden others and graciously accept their many wonderful offers of help. I’m OK. I can do this.

Or maybe I can’t. Just after seven o’clock Wednesday morning, the phone rang. It was a friend, offering to drive us all to the kids’ weekly home school classes and my Bible study. I knew I should have accepted her offer, but I also knew that would have added even more to her already full schedule. After all, I’m OK. I can do this.

It wasn’t long before I was lying on a cot in the women’s restroom, light-headed and a little dizzy, feeling pretty ill and very foolish. A soft-spoken, older woman asked how she could help, and I reluctantly admitted I’d had two surgeries in 15 days, and honestly had no business being out of the house, but that I’d been too stubborn to accept the help I’d been offered. Ouch. God wasn’t going to make this easy.

You see, God was again patiently reminding me that in spite of what American culture decries to the contrary, we were not created to live independent, self-sufficient lives. There is no glory, no gain in that. We were created to bring glory to God, not ourselves; created to submit our lives first to Him and then to one another; to walk along side each other through this life; to encourage and build one another up; to strengthen each another and bear one another’s burdens. God created us to be the strand of three cords that is not easily broken.

My friend (the same friend who’d offered us a ride two hours earlier, and who’d called me indomitable after the first surgery) now offered to collect my kids after their classes and drive them home, quietly adding, “You’re trying to live a normal life right now, and you can’t.” No lectures, no “I told you so,” no deep sighs, just compassion. My friend understands. She’s been there. She knows how humbling it is to learn to graciously accept help when we need it. This past month of surgeries and setbacks has deepened my understanding of what it means to be the Body of Christ – to weave our lives together with others in order to strengthen us all. It’s an excellent lesson, most humbly learned.

By Cindee Re
January, 2008

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