Shortly after my prostate surgery last October, I began having lower back pain. It started early during recovery and I thought it was from sitting in one place for too long. But it continued after I was up and about and back to work. I did stretch exercises, but it didn’t seem to help. I went to see my chiropractor and complained about it. He had me lay on my belly and pressed a certain point on my back.
“Ow!”, I said, “That’s it.”
He replied, “That’s what I thought. That’s where the nerves that go to the prostate are.”
He began therapy for that particular area and it got much better. I never would have thought of that. I was focusing on the symptoms instead of the root problem. And that got me to thinking. So many people are trying to fix the symptoms in their lives instead of going to the Great Physician to identify and fix the root problem.
If I have to suffer to learn that lesson, others may just as well learn from it, too.
It was the Lord Himself that said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26).
The story is told of a high-wire artist who was to perform in a small city. When he arrived, he secured the help of two young men. They set up the platforms and strung the wire tightly across the street – 100 feet high and with no net.
As people gathered, the high-wire artist began his act. First, he carried a long pole across the wire. He then exchanged it for a chair. He went back out to the center of the wire, placed the chair on it, and sat down. Then he got up and went across the wire and exchanged the chair for a wheelbarrow, taking it back across the wire. When he got to the platform he asked one of his young assistants, “Do you believe I can take this wheelbarrow across that wire without falling?”
The young fellow answered, “Of course. I just saw you do it.””OK,” the man said, “get in.”
It is one thing to say we believe something and another thing to have faith that acts on our belief. We can believe mentally without believing with our faith.
Our final challenge in this Trials of Our Faith series is to Get In.
Some years ago a speedboat driver who had recently survived a racing accident told of his experience. He had been at near top speeds when his boat veered slightly and hit a wave at a dangerous angle. The combined force of his speed and the size and angle of the wave sent the boat spinning crazily into the air. He was thrown from his seat and propelled deeply into the water – so deeply, in fact, that he had no idea which direction the surface was. He had to remain calm and wait for the buoyancy of his life vest to begin pulling him up. Once he discovered which way was up, he could swim for the surface.
Sometimes we find ourselves surrounded by confusing options, too deeply immersed in our problems to know “which way is up”. When this happens, we too can remain calm, waiting for God’s gentle tug to pull us in the proper direction. Our “life vest” may be other Christians, scripture, or some other leading from the Holy Spirit, but the key is recognizing our dependency upon God and trusting him.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:2).
Millions of people are afraid to fly by air. Many of them know very well what the statistics say – that they are safer in an airplane than in the family car or the bathtub. But that doesn’t matter. Researchers say that a conscious fear of crashing is usually not the problem. Instead, at the root of their anxiety is the fear that once they leave the ground they will lose control of their lives.
A similar crisis of faith occurs when a person puts himself in the care of God. He/she too is carried a long way from what the world considers “solid ground”. Trusting an invisible Lord can be frightening, especially for a new Christian.
Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.“
In an article for Campus Life magazine, Susan Smart describes her third – and nearly last – solo flight. She had been practicing a maneuver at 5,000 feet when she lost control and her Cessna 150 began spinning wildly toward earth. After several seconds of panic, she recalled her instructor’s words: “If you ever go into a spin in a Cessna 150, just let go of the controls. Its built to fly on its own.”
Susan shouted to herself several times, “Let go!” Finally, she yanked her hands from the controls and covered her face. After some wild yawing and pitching, the plane returned to level flight. She had fallen more than half a mile, but she survived because she had the faith to let go.
Her experience vividly illustrates what it means to trust God in a time of crisis. When your life is spinning wildly out of control, our feelings cry out for us to panic, but we must hold on to His promises.
“In You, O Lord, I put my trust…Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble” (Psalm 31:1&9).
Is your life in a spin? Let go of the controls!
One of today’s most successful corporations began in 1916 as a carpenter’s shop in Denmark. When the housing market collapsed during the Great Depression, the shop was converted to manufacture toys. When the wooden-toy department burned down in 1960, the company staked its future on the little interlocking plactic bricks it had been making. Today we know the company as Lego, the fifth-largest toymaker in the world, with annual sales of $1 billion.
Here is a company that refused to quit, but modified itself with each reversal and difficulty along its history. And I think its a great example of the versatile life Christians should be leading. Each failure or detour in our lives should lead us to rethink and redirect our lives from that point on.
As the old saying goes, “Its not over ’til the fat lady sings.” Or, as the Proverb writer says it, “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity” (Proverbs 24:16).
We are familiar with the famous ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’. It leans almost twenty feet out of perpendicular. Somehow, when the architect was planning that tower he designed a 179 foot high structure with a ten foot foundation. No wonder it leans.
I’ll bet that there are many people both within the church and without who have a leaning Tower of Pisa faith. Tall structures – tiny foundations.
Because our foundation determines the stability of the structure, I want to be sure that my spiritual life is built upon the solid Rock, not the shifting sands of feelings or opinions.
What are you trusting in and how sure is it?