This content came from a journal entry dated May 23, 2018 — a day that I was supposed to both get a cast removed from my leg and fly to Asia for four weeks.
I put Day 1 in quotes because today was supposed to be Day 1 of my new adventure in Asia, but circumstances prevented that from happening. Or maybe God did. I trust that even when things don’t go as expected, He has our best interests at heart.
This morning when I woke up at 5am, I was excited to get the cast off my right foot, as I’d been wearing it for a full month. I looked forward to jumping up and down, driving us back to the hotel, and maneuvering my bags effortlessly through the airport. If only our expectations matched our reality. Instead of soaring victoriously out of that doctor’s office for the last time, I hobbled. And I mean HOBBLED.
But before the hobbling, I had to lie on the cast room table for thirty minutes to regain my strength. After Amanda cut my cast off, and I was hit with a nasty stench coming from my own body, I got weak. My foot felt simultaneously detached from my body and as my sister so aptly described, “like spaghetti,” which did not help the situation.
Amanda came back with a children’s juice box to help revive me, possibly unaware that it was organic and contained a mere 35 calories. After one sip I thought, “This may at least make me think my sugar is higher.” I sat up and flopped back down a few more times, each time announcing a new plan or barking a new order at my sweet mama. “Give me my shoe.” Flop down. “Nevermind, I won’t wear it.” Down again. “Well, I can’t really walk without it.” I lay back down for the last time thinking, “What did the man who Jesus told to pick up his mat and walk think?” (John 5:1-15). I’m sure he was tempted, as I was, with doubt and unbelief. He probably had to tell himself, “All things are possible! Your body CAN do this!”
I finally see why he might’ve wished to remain on his mat, though. That was all he knew. That was what he was comfortable with. Getting up was scary. There were so many unknowns. His identity was at stake. He’d been know by his ailment and wasn’t sure who he’d be without it or what life would be like.
But walking out of bondage will never leave us disappointed.
Ridding ourselves of hindrances will only lead us into freedom, and leaving our mats behind us will only make us more like Jesus.
Learning to walk again takes time. It takes forgetting the former ways. It may be tempting to return to the familiar — to walk with a limp or to sit on a mat. Forsaking what’s comfortable, what’s familiar, and what’s easy will always be worth the struggle, though because this is the way that leads to the life God has prepared for us.
May we “forget the former things” and look ahead to the “new thing” He is doing (Isaiah 43:18-19). May we live in the reality that “our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with” (Romans 6:6). “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Let’s leave our mats behind and refuse to pick them up again.