Reading through the Old Testament each year makes me grateful I was born in the dispensation of grace. I often feel sorry for the prophets whose lives were directed by God as analogies of His impending judgment upon Israel. Lately, I have wondered if God may also be directing my life as an analogy.
Recently, at a ladies’ retreat, I was doing water aerobics, trying to be healthy and take care of my body. I didn’t realize how close to the pool’s edge I had drifted until the cement steps and my right foot connected. I knew by the excruciating pain and the audible crunch that something was broken.
After accessing the situation, I thought, “Thank God it wasn’t one of my important toes.” It could have been worse; it wasn’t my big toe or even my pinkie toe. It was just that second toe next to it, my “ring-finger toe.” However, the pain from that insignificant broken toe stopped me in my tracks. I limped for two weeks— through the remainder of the retreat, then home, to church, through housework and laundry, packing and airports, then on to two ladies’ conferences. I had never thought about that particular toe before, but it was all I could think about for days. Every fiber in my body sent prayers and healing thoughts to that sweet little toe.
As I packed for the conferences, I searched my closet for shoes that would fit over my swollen toe and not squeeze it. Of course, the only ones that even halfway worked were casual sandals that had seen better days. Regardless, I wore those silly shoes right up on the platform. I even changed my wardrobe, hoping to disguise the fabulous footwear.
Right in the middle of this toe-tally humiliating experience, God spoke profoundly to me. “Isn’t this just like the body of Christ?”
What? Yes, sometimes, people get hurt even in the middle of revival, growth, and good times. The pain of the broken is excruciating. They feel they are of no value to the body—unimportant and insignificant. In reality, when one member hurts, the whole body wants the pain and brokenness to stop.
Shortly after my injury, I learned if I “buddy-taped” the broken toe to a strong, healthy toe, I could stabilize it. Although the pain was still there, the warmth and stability of the stronger toe seemed to hasten healing.
I pulled out my Bible and found myself reading the twelfth chapter of Romans. I made these notes as several verses spoke to my heart.
- Verses 4 and 5: All of us have different gifts and qualities, but we’re members of the body of Christ. (You are important little toe. Just get well.)
- Verse 9: Cling to the good. (Buddy-tape.)
- Verse 10: Be kind to one another and honor one another. (Yes, I am icing and elevating this entire foot.)
- Verse 12: Be patient in suffering and affliction. (Oh Lord, I am walking slower than a snail and look like I can’t afford a decent pair of shoes. Okay, I’ll be patient.)
This unique message from God is two-fold.
First, to the healthy members of the body, please remember this. The broken, wounded members among us count on the strong, loving members to hold them together until they are healed and whole. Be patient and sensitive. Be okay with being the “buddy” they can be connected to. Be willing to be the strong one for as long as it takes them to recover and heal.
And then, to the broken ones, don’t be hard-headed and impatient. Use the “buddy system.” Cling to the strong members. Seek help when you’re hurting.
As I hobbled through my painful parable, I sent prayers of love and healing to every broken member of the body of Christ. Whoever and wherever you are, I want you to know how crucial you are to the rest of us. We can’t function 100 percent without your wholeness and strength. Until healing comes to you, we will limp along and pray for a miracle. We will love and respect the part you play in the body, and we will never take you for granted again. We want you to be whole and healed again . . . so we can run this race and win.
This article was originally published in the PURE newsletter from Ladies Ministries UPCI.