Back in 2003, I had a terrible accident which resulted in, what I thought was simply, a broken leg. I will never forget the look on the doctor’s face when he informed me, “Mr. Pittenger, you have had a rather unfortunate accident. You have a Tibial Plateau Fracture which will require major surgery. Following the surgery you will not be able to put any weight on your leg for thirteen weeks and will spend up to six months in physical therapy learning to use your leg again.” As he continued to explain the procedure to literally screw my leg back together, I sat there in a daze. How was I going to work? How would I take care of my family? Would the church let me stay on as pastor? Needless to say, the ride home was rather quiet as Shirley and I tried to grasp the seriousness of the situation.
Within a week I had the surgery, and after spending one night at the surgery center, I was able to go home and begin the long recovery process. During the next seven months, I learned several great lessons from this tragic accident. Even nine years later they are fresh in my mind, and at times, I recall those difficult dark days when my faith was all that kept me going.
One of the first lessons I learned was nerve blocks do not last forever. Just before surgery, and then again as they were sending me home, the anesthesiologist gave me a nerve block to help with the pain. It was to last around twelve hours, which would allow me to get home and into to bed comfortably until we filled the prescription for the pain medication. Nerve blocks are great! They had just screwed my leg back together, and I felt great. I just knew I was going to be the rare case that was back to his regular routine in a matter of months. I had already experienced several knee surgeries and had made speedy recoveries, so this wasn’t going to be a problem. I was excited, enthusiastic, motivated, and ready to get started with my recovery. Then it happened, my nerve block wore off, and to make matters worse, the pharmacist didn’t fill my prescription correctly. He had given me the equivalent of baby aspirin instead of a strong pain-killer. I suffered greatly for several hours until the surgeon could be reached and prescribe a stronger medication. That was the longest twelve hours of my life.
Months later, as I pondered that excruciatingly painful night, I realized a connection with real life. Often we seek out a type of nerve block for our feelings or emotions. We find ways to block out the pain and sorrow we are experiencing. We try anything we can to prevent the pain. It may be drugs, alcohol, television, movies, video games, sports, work, or even relationships. We try to keep ourselves busy so as to avoid having to deal with the darkness of our souls. The problem is, sooner or later the nerve block wears off and we stand face-to-face with our pain.
Failing to deal with our pain never helps us move forward. All we are doing is denying our disappointments, sorrows, and fears hoping that they will go away, but they never do. There comes a time when we have to decide the best possible way to face and deal with our troubles. Nerve blocks may seem great at helping us get through the initial tsunami of emotions sweeping over us; however, there comes a time when we have to stand up and begin moving forward in our recovery. It may take days, weeks, months, or even years, and despite how difficult it might be, it will lead to a healthier and stronger you.
My friend, don’t spend the rest of your life trying to avoid your feelings with some worldly nerve block. In the end you will only be hurting yourself. God wants you to restore you to the joy of living. That joy comes from a relationship with Jesus. This relationship does not exempt you from pain or life’s difficulties, but you will never walk through the pains of life alone or in darkness ever again, plus with Christ, comes a world-wide family ready, willing, and eager to come to your aide. Won’t you give Jesus a try today?