Learning from My Backache

It sounds so humiliating, naked, starving, poor, and then to have an iron yoke placed on your neck, all the while serving your enemy. By the end of the first day of such treatment I would probably be begging for death.

To a much lesser degree I had the same thing happen to me just recently and I almost didn’t see it. The Lord had to really humble me to get my attention.

In November I was fortunate enough to complete my doctorate in theology, and then in December I was plagued by a very painful backache. Which· do_ you think got the most attention?

If you said the backache, you would be correct.

It put me down for nearly the entire month . I slept on the floor and walked with a stoop, complained bitterly, blamed this or that for causing it, and refused to be thankful for the good things God had given me in my life.

In short, I was miserable ·and wanted to make everyone around me aware of it. How I came to receive this backache, I do not know, however what is important is that I was taken to the spiritual wood shed and taught that I could be handling the blessings of the pain differently.

I was attempting to bury myself in the television, distracting my thoughts and my feelings, when it occurred to me that I was wasting my life away. I realized I was doing away with a precious gift that the Lord had handed me.

That gift was time.

For years the Lord had granted me time enough to work quietly on my degree, to study and write and study even more. And now when I was laid up I could not be bothered to spend anytime with him in prayer or in his word.

I felt ashamed of myself. The first thing I knew I had to do was to get up of£ the floor and get my Bible.

It hurt terribly to roll over. I was lying on my back, knees bent, holding a mirror that I could see the television. Once I was up, though I hobbled to the back room and got my Bible and laid down there.

I opened it up and just started reading. The second thing I had to do was pray. I prayed for Jesus to forgive me for wasting his time. I also thanked him for the backache.

I feel it was appropriate to thank Him because I needed to have my eyes opened to what I was not doing. I did not blame my backache on him, claiming he gave it to me.

No! Instead, I accepted responsibility for my backache and made it mine!

Many times I find myself in a situation that I don’t want to be in and all I can do is complain and blame. That’s right, I complain and blame. I figure most people do the same thing. I decided to turn over a new leaf and instead of complaining and blaming; I’ll thank the Lord for the opportunity to live in the moment that I find myself in.

I may not understand why I’m in that situation or what I am supposed to do to get out of it, but I’ll say thank-you anyway  As of yet, I have not found ‘happiness ‘promised to us in the Bible.

However, I do find the word ‘joy ‘ mentioned time and· again and that is given freely because the Lord wants us to have great joy in our live . All we have to do is ask for it , but first we must accept responsibility for the circumstances we find ourselves in and treat them as a blessing because we are endowed with free will.

So here’s a simple 5-step plan to get in touch with the Lord and your joy:

1. Turn off the noise and clutter in your busy life, the television, the radio, the internal voice that you use to rationalize your activities, etc.

2. Discipline yourself physically to pick up your Bible, the word of God, and read it daily so that it’s in your hearts and mind.

3. Pray daily to Jesus with all of your heart.

4. Attend church and fellowship on a regular basis sharing in the Lord’s word.

5. Teach yourself to listen with your heart to what the Lord is saying to you. It is really that simple.

Listen for him to speak to you through prayer and the Bible. Remember to serve God through both the good times and the bad and you ‘ll find real joy.

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