The doctor strolled in casually without pausing, not even allowing time for the door to swing shut before she nonchalantly laid the claim, “You broke your neck.”
If I wasn’t in a neck brace, my dad and I would’ve looked at each other before letting out a social chuckle. The flippant way she made the announcement left both of us waiting for her to laugh it off and continue, “Just kidding! Girl, you just sprained a muscle–what’d you come to the hospital for? Get home and get some rest.”
But she didn’t. And after a surprised moment of waiting, my dad spoke up, “Really?”
I was playing Ultimate Frisbee. I gotta say, that’s really the only activity worth breaking one’s neck over.
I’m not paralyzed. I should heal to 100%… eventually. For now, the summer of 2020 looks like less than I had hoped for.
To be honest, it’s another moment of shaking my head at God. At the end of last year, without warning, I had to leave my job, leave my home, leave my friends, and uproot any plans I had. Shortly thereafter, I ran into some interpersonal hurdles that are less-than-pleasant by all terms of the definition. I saw a pattern of God taking away things that I highly (highly) valued. Things that, perhaps, could become idols in my relationship with Him.
Once that realization flickered across the screen, I did an immediate inventory of other possible things I should give up to God before they were ripped from my white-knuckle grip. My body and health topped the list.
And here I am. Neck broken.
It was so predicted that I don’t know if I should laugh or scream. I can’t decide I brought this upon myself by asking for His help, if I saved myself from being paralyzed by offering my health to him before he had to completely take it away, or if God is playing rude games with me.
But God is God and He knows what he’s doing. So making bets on how and why and playing the “what if?” game is likely the wrong tree to bark up.
The author of Hebrews speaks to his audience in chapter 10, verse 34 saying, “[You] joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”
I read that and pondered how joyfully I’m accepting the confiscation of things I consider to be my “right” or my “property.” I know I have better and lasting possessions in the treasure I’ve stored up in Heaven. But do I believe it? If I was more confident in my “better and lasting possessions,” would I be more joyful in losing my job, losing my housing, losing my friends, losing my health?
I want that. I want to remember every single day that what I own on earth (or what I expect to own, what I feel is my right to own) is nothing compared to the better and lasting possessions I have awaiting me in my true home.
The next chapter of Hebrews reminds us of Abraham. “By faith [Abraham] made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
I know that this life is temporary. But I forget. I want to remember. I want to remember to hold things here loosely because they are temporary. And the more I remember that, the more I focus on God’s will (and not on my own “rights”), the more joyful I can be in the midst of “my” property being confiscated.
Anybody wanna learn this lesson with me before we lose something else? 😉