When Healing Hurts
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I decided to shoot some hoops indoors with a friend. It had been a while since I played basketball. After losing a few games of 21, I kicked it into high gear like in my teen years. After quickly moving around the defender, I headed for the goal and attempted a “stop and pop.” This move involves suddenly changing direction and making a short jump shot rather than a layup. At that point my shoe gripped the floor and stopped, while the rest of my body kept moving forward. There was a pop, but not the one I was looking for.
Lying on the ground, I held my knee. It felt like sprains I’d had in the past, so after a minute or so I got up and continued to play, though at a much slower pace. My knee felt oddly unstable and started to swell.
I continued to play golf and take walks, though my knee would get sore and sometimes would need icing at home afterwards. Over time it seemed that my knee wasn’t fully healing, so I went to the doctor. Two visits, an Xray, and an MRI later, I was diagnosed with a torn ACL and torn meniscus on both sides of my left knee. Shocking! How could I play golf, go up stairs, or jog with a torn ACL? The doctor mentioned some people with torn ACLs can live okay without surgery, but their mobility would be limited. It was decision time – live with the pain of the injury, or the pain of surgery?
I thought about the scripture verses that mentioned how we are all part of the body, and if one part suffers, the whole body suffers (1 Corinthians 12:12-26). By not having the surgery, I would be limiting the abilities of other parts of my body, and that could eventually cause more harm. My right knee had also started to hurt because I was overcompensating for the injured knee and putting too much pressure on it.
I had also gained additional weight by no longer being able to run, and that put a strain on my heart and back. My cholesterol had risen so high that I was on the verge of becoming pre-diabetic. The injury had been affecting my whole body, and I hadn’t realized it until after the surgery.
Just like with my knee, many of us in the body of Christ are dealing with areas in our lives that are “injured.” Often it is only noticeable when we are put in a strenuous position or certain circumstances. We are resourceful and able to adjust our lives to avoid the hurt or pain. We find our braces and soon, living with the “injury” becomes comfortable and normal. Every once and a while God will stretch us and show us that we are “injured.” Yet, the fear of the painful process to become fully healed keeps us from pursuing full healing. In our minds we convince ourselves that we are okay.
Unfortunately, this is a lie. The enemy wants us to believe we are “okay”; he hopes we don’t reach our full potential. After all, he came to steal our joy, kill our hopes and destroy our destiny. God, on the other hand, wants us to live an abundant life (John 10:10). A life that is full of joy and hope. A life where we can live in the fullness of the purpose He has for us. He wants us to be spiritually healthy so we can fully function as the part of the body of Christ that He has called us to be.
It has been several months since the surgery on my left knee. At times the pain from the surgery hurts worse than the injury priory to surgery. I am making progress but not fully there, though complete healing will come. I can’t run yet, but I can do things I couldn’t before the surgery. This includes walking without limping, going up stairs without pain, doing squats, and having my cholesterol restored to normal. Looking back, I can see that the pain of the surgery and healing process are worth it, even before a full recovery. It hurts more in the long run to not pursue healing. What’s holding you back from healing? Ask God to help you through the healing process.