May 26, 2016
Falling, it can happen to the best of us!
It has been quite a while since I or David sat down to write a blog entry. As you can see from the length of this article, I have made up for lost time. David recently suggested that I sit down and write something. Since a writer writes what he knows and right now all I know is how frustrated I am at our current situation. Yes, frustrated, I admit it; although I think David and my children already know this! Why am I frustrated? On Monday (4 days ago) I had a pretty bad fall while I was jogging. I have been running since I was 12 and running in the same place for 4 years. I have never had an accident, ever, until Monday. And it just so happened that I was running downhill when my ankle randomly gave out and I went skidding down a paved road on my hands, knees, and elbow. I was taken to the hospital and my wounds cleaned and bandaged; x-rays concluded nothing broken or fractured. So, here I am on the couch unable to do much with my hands (lift, clean, or move anything) and unable to walk without limping and wincing from the pain. And of course, there is a serious need that needs David’s immediate attention concerning our orphanage in Kenya which means he has to be at his computer communicating with people and informing everyone of this need (see your e-mail newsletter for details). BUT, because of my injuries David is having to clean, cook, help with the children, run errands all the while trying to keep the orphanage building from being repossessed by the bank. Talk about having too many pots to stir at once!
So, you say, what’s my point of all this? As I was in the shower getting my wounds cleaned out, I had something dawn on me. Sin (before it happens, during the act, and experiencing the consequences of it) can be kind of compared to my accident. Allow me to elaborate:
As I already shared I am an experienced runner. Picture this, it was a bright clear Monday morning and I was excited to have my “mommy time” and listen to good upbeat music and go for a good run. I had just run up my hill and was preparing to go downhill. I was enjoying the wind and sun on my face when all of a sudden before I could even react, I felt my ankle turn out and my hands go out to brace for my fall…pause that image.
Now, for most seasoned Christians we do not go looking for opportunities to sin. We have overcome many immature troubles and temptations in the past and feel like certain sins (an affair, pornographic viewing, lust, addiction to prescription meds, a drinking problem, gambling addiction, gossip, gluttony, constant bitterness and anger, addiction to anything harmful etc etc etc) are beyond our realm of even being possible to happen. But, there comes a day when we least expect it, that a sin of some kind trips us and we find ourselves falling.
Even though my fall only took seconds to happen, I am amazed that when I remember it I can recall thinking about what was taking place: denial it was happening, “What is going on?! How did this happen?” Fighting against the momentum of my downward fall, “I gotta stop falling; have to stop, ouch ouch ouch!” Then finally thinking, “Oh my gracious, this is really bad. I can’t believe this is happening!”
When we have found ourselves in the midst of this unexpected sin we might deny that it’s happening at first. Then as it continues to happen we realize what we’re doing and we try to stop it from continuing; we fight the momentum of sin so that it doesn’t continue. Then finally it is finished and we accept that it’s happened and we look down at our bloodied selves and think, “Oh my gracious, this is really bad! I can’t believe this has happened!”
As I sat on the road crying, I tried to get up myself but I couldn’t. My palms were shredded so I couldn’t use them to push myself up. My legs and knees were stiff, bleeding, and in incredible pain. I sat there crying and bleeding and looked around for help. There was no one. So, I tried to figure out what to do on my own. But all I could do was sit there and cry and bleed. Then a black SUV pulled onto the street and stopped next to me. It was an older man with a kind face who was some type of policeman (somehow in the midst of everything I noticed mace, a gun, and a knife strapped to his person, go figure!), he knelt down in front of me took my wrists and spoke softly, “Calmete calmete calmete” (translation, calm down). I managed to calm down surprisingly and he asked a few simple questions in Spanish to which I was able to process, translate into English, and respond with a shake of the head yes or no. Then he said something I didn’t understand and I said, “I’m sorry I don’t understand”. He smiled and began speaking in broken English. He helped me up, put me in his car, and drove me down the hill to the parking lot where my car was parked. He was hesitant to leave but I told him I was alright to drive (yeah, right! I just didn’t want to bother David who was in the middle of cooking breakfast and taking care of the 3 kids by himself. And for some reason I though my bloody shredded palms would allow me to operate a vehicle). I got in my car, whimpering and bleeding, and pulled away slowly. I didn’t get far down the road before I accepted the glaring fact that I could not drive the 5 miles home with bloody hands and searing pain. So I called David and he quickly morphed into Superman flying to my rescue! Pause narrative.
After we have come to realize the gravity of our sin and what we’ve done, we begin examining our situation and try to think of a way out. Maybe we’ll look around for help and find no one or maybe we’ll try to fix it and get out on our own. Rarely do Christians escape a sin on their own strength. Most times sin has us too cornered or damaged that there is no “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” strength left. God has created us to “need”. We were not put on this earth to be away from Him or one another. We “need” the Holy Spirits strength every day and we need fellow believers too. The good Samaritan who seen me fall and stopped to help is like how God has blessed us with the Holy Spirit and/or fellow believers to be there for us, to help us get up and get us where we need to be. Although, sometimes we can still be stubborn and think we can finish getting ourselves out of our sticky situation flying solo. We typically don’t make it too far before we realize how debilitated we still are and we call upon a rescuer. Our rescuer gets us the help we need which is only found in God’s healing touch and abundant forgiveness.
David realized my wounds were severe enough that I might need stitches. So he took me to the ER. I was allowed in immediately and a Dr. came to asses and clean my wounds. It hurt! I had to sit there, not pull away and submit to more pain as 7 different areas were cleansed of road debris, dried blood, and skin then were sanitized and re-bandaged. The pain continued as I was getting x-rayed and ultimately 3 shots (no stitches thankfully!). We were there I think for about 3 hours. I came home and slept for another 3 hours. Every day David and I go through the painful procedure of cleaning my wounds and re-bandaging them. Then I hobble around and try to do small jobs to help out David. I can’t do many things yet; can’t scrub dishes, I can’t carry Joannah around, I can’t exercise at all on any level, I can’t drive and the list of things goes on inevitably ending up in frustration and yes, maybe even in a bit of self-pity. The only real thing I can control is my attitude, which stinks at the moment!
In order for sin to be eradicated from our lives it takes God’s healing and forgiveness, although it doesn’t come without pain and consequences. It hurts when God scrubs the sin away and the consequences of living with the repercussions of that sin every day is not fun for ourselves or for those around us. It puts a damper on what we do and what others have to do to help us. The people in our lives have to deal with the consequences too of our sin even though they didn’t commit the act. Recovering and healing from sin isn’t fun and it can be damaging and the process might leave scars on us and/or those around us. But after the damage from sin has healed, the wounds are no longer fresh, and we have regained our strength, we are able to put the past behind us, get up from the couch, and continue to run the race towards our prize in Heaven. Halleluiah, thank God that we are no longer bound to the law of sin and death and it cannot hold us down any longer! Freedom from sin through Christs sacrifice is such a freeing gift.
As I close this article, I would implore my fellow believers to be on guard, to be alert whether night or day to the snares of sin and the temptations of the devil who never sleeps and is always looking for a way to trip believers in their run for the Lord. It was my pride and ego that caused me to believe I was above a trivial act of tripping and falling; I was too seasoned of a runner to trip, how silly to even think it would happen (do I dare to admit that I have even scoffed at David when he would encourage me to pick a different route due to safety concerns, whoops!). Well, Christian reader, SIN CAN HAPPEN! The Bible repeatedly warns us directly and through parables that we should always be on guard and never fall asleep. Each day arm yourself with the armor of God, which is why it’s there, to protect us, but in order for Gods armor to work, we have to put it on. Armor doesn’t protect us if it’s in our closet. We have to choose to put it on and stand ready. So, today are you awake and ready to stand firm? Or have you forgotten where your armor is?
Your fellow runner in life’s race,