As many of you know, I went through knee replacement surgery a couple of weeks ago. The surgery went well and the rehab process was coming along nicely. The pain was managed and the range of motion improving; it would just be a matter of a couple more weeks and I would be back in the swing of things.
And then it hit. The pain in my lower leg spiked to a nine on a ten-point scale. Pain medication could not bring comfort as I struggled on and off for a couple of days. A Doppler test ruled out the possibility of blood clots, so the medical staff began antibiotic treatments for infection. It worked. The pain started to subside and the recovery process resumed.
Carolyn and I feel so blessed to be covered by the prayers of so many of our friends and family and the incredible Woodside family. The cards, texts, emails and calls have been so overwhelming and humbling.
Carolyn and I were sitting in the hospital food court last Friday late afternoon waiting for the blood clot test, when I received a text from my friend and fellow pastor, Kevin Ramsby. The text was simple and straightforward, “Just heard that you had surgery and wanted to let you know that I am praying for a speedy recovery. If I can serve or help in any way, please let me know. Blessings, Kevin.”
It wasn’t what was said but who said it that God used to impact me that Friday afternoon. You see Kevin’s home was broken into a few years ago and in the middle of the night the intruder stabbed him 37 times. Miraculously, he was carried from a pool of his own blood to a neighbor’s home. Except for the intervention of God, he should not have lived.
That Friday when my pain hit a nine on a ten-point scale, I was restless and had to keep moving. But that “nine” I could endure and it would not have even registered if “ten” involved stab wounds.
God’s lesson to me was not to deny my pain, but to put it in perspective. In the midst of our pain, it is so easy to lose our perspective and become self absorbed, thinking that no one has ever suffered more. It happened to Elijah in 1 Kings 19 and it still happens today.
The author of Hebrews was basically telling his suffering readers of the first century to “look at it from a different perspective.” “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or faint hearted.”
Later I found it both ironic and embarrassing that I had used the word “spiked” to describe my pain hitting a “nine.” The physical and spiritual pain that came with Jesus’s spikes could not be charted on any of my scales. Let’s look to Jesus not only for his help and his prayers, but for his perspective.
I want to thank each of you for your thoughts and prayers during this time. Every day brings improvement and I cannot wait to get reengaged in life and ministry. May The Lord bless you today!