I recently hurt my foot. It was my Achilles tendon to be exact. As I was trying to hold the screen door open while bending over and maneuvering my daughter’s bicycle outside, I somehow drug the bottom corner edge of the screen door across the Achilles of my outstretched leg. It left a two-inch, deep gash right across the weakest part of my Achilles tendon.
All medical facts and struggles aside, I knew God also was using this trial in my life to teach me spiritual lessons. My learning, as well as trial, is not over… and it has already been many weeks since the injury. Yes, sometimes it takes me a while to see the things I wish I could see immediately. Within the first day or two, I could definitely see that God was developing my patience, working on my overly prideful desire to smoothly run our household, and perfecting my trust in Him at all costs. Hour after hour spent on the couch, not being able to do anything for myself except get cumbersomely to the restroom showed me these lessons quickly. But other lessons took longer.
About three weeks into my journey and trying to clean up our schoolroom while still on crutches, I smashed my thumb. It wasn’t anything serious, but it hurt and frustrated me terribly. I went to God quickly with a “why me” attitude. (Or should I say “whi-ney” attitude?) Oh, sin… how it so easily makes the world seem to revolve around me! Sigh. Well, after crying to Him about my physical woes and asking for a clear signal as to what He wanted me to learn from this, He sent an answer. Service. “But, I serve you! Don’t I?” I responded. Through time in prayer, He showed me that I was not allowing my children to do their fair share in serving our household, and even in serving me in my injured state. I have always struggled with independence… being overly so at times, and being obstinate in the process. God clearly showed me that my daughters needed this opportunity to develop the practice and experience of serving. They are excellent daughters… quick to action and to help, but in my pride, I was not allowing them to do what God, and even they, wanted to do.
But, I knew there was more. It is a strange feeling to know so strongly that there is a spiritual lesson dangling right in front of you like a carrot in front of a horse, but you just can’t reach it. And that was how I felt. I knew it was there, and was reaching out for it, but I just couldn’t get it.
A few weeks later, I attended Bible study and shared during prayer requests my physical and spiritual situation regarding this Achilles dilemma. And low and behold, the very next morning, during my quiet time spent with God in prayer and over His word, an epiphany came. I recalled some words I’d read a few days before on my phone’s Bible app, from Romans chapter five.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)
So during my morning quiet time, I looked up this scripture in my study Bible, and beside it I had drawn a brace around these verses and written in the margin “See 1 Pet 5:10”. This immediately shocked me because at that time I was just wrapping up a 13-week study of 1 Peter. I quickly turned to see how that specific verse read and saw,
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10 ESV)
And strangely enough, during that Bible study just one night previous to my quiet time our text asked us to read from 1 Pet 5:8,9, and I requested that we read further to see the hope offered in verse 10 and then I proceeded to read aloud that exact scripture aloud to the group. Isn’t it amazing how He works? I feel sometimes that God has to repeat Himself to me several times before it “clicks” and I truly get it. But, He so lovingly never gives up on me and continues to put things in my path until they sink in. So, the lesson here was simple. God was allowing this accident with my Achilles to perfect my hope (or restore me), confirm, strengthen, and establish me even more. And after weeks of internal, spiritual struggles through my ordeal, a simple lesson was a breath of fresh air!
But was that all?
A few days later, in my morning quiet time, I got the last major piece of the puzzle. My injury was to my foot. A verse from Ephesians popped into mind.
and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:15 ESV)
I knew suddenly, that God was showing me something else. Even as my physical feet are crucial to walking, my “spiritual feet” are crucial to my walk and to fulfilling obediently the calling He has placed on my life. Part of that calling, for me, is to share His message through writing. My audience may be small, but no matter… I am doing what He wants and I must get busy being obedient!
I’ll end with these other verses from Romans.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news! (Romans 10:14-15 ESV)
I am forever grateful that even in the midst of suffering, God is with us, not only bringing us peace and comfort, but also perfecting our faith and beautifying our spirits so that we might better glorify Him.
What lessons has He so graciously taught you through your trials? And where has God called your feet to take you?