Recovering from a broken leg is never easy. The first few days after surgery to screw my leg back together proved challenging in trying to deal with the pain. Because of a simple mistake I had to endure horrible pain after my nerve block wore off (See yesterday’s post, “Never Blocks Don’t Last Forever!”). By the end of the second day my pain was back under control and I was ready to begin physical therapy and get back to a normal life.
Within a few days I began to realize that dealing with the pain may have been the easy part. From late April to mid August I wasn’t allowed to put any weight on my leg. This meant I had to walk with crutches all the time. The doctor had told me not to mess around with this injury. If I fell or put weight on my leg I could do serious damage, have to have another surgery, and worst of all I would start the thirteen weeks without any weight on my leg all over again. Needless to say, I didn’t want that to happen so I did just as the doctor order.
I wasn’t allowed to go back to work for over a month, so just moving around the house was a great place to get used to walking on crutches. Nevertheless, I quickly found out crutches are a pain in the armpit! My arms often grew weary of supporting most of my weight, so I would rest on the top of the crutches. As much as I hated them, I realized the crutches were my greatest need. I wasn’t able to do anything without them, so I had to totally depend on them to hold me up and help me get around.
During that four-month period I learned a great lesson. For years I had been helping others in need. In fact, as a pastor I had committed my life to helping or getting help for those in need. God had opened many doors to allow me the opportunity to serve those who just couldn’t get by on their own. The church I was pastoring at the time had been set up that each small group would take care of themselves. If they needed help they would call the church and we would send out emails and make phone calls looking for volunteers. It was a great ministry and help to those who just needed a helping hand.
This injury had put me in a position of having to rely on the generosity of others to meet my needs. Just as I wasn’t able to get around without my crutches, now I couldn’t take care of myself, my family, my home, or any other responsibilities. I came to realize I needed a different type of crutch. I needed to swallow my pride and allow my church family to help meet our needs.
Over the next several weeks they set up a schedule to bring us meals so Shirley wouldn’t have to cook. The men set up a rotation to weekly mow my lawn. Different people would take me to physical therapy so Shirley wouldn’t miss any time at work. Someone even loaned the church an electric wheelchair so I wouldn’t have to use the crutches to get around the building. My church staff put their money together and bought me a reclining wing-backed chair for my office so that I would be able to study and prop my leg up. And the best part, I never asked for anything. All I had to do was just rest on the crutches of family.
There are times in life when we just need a crutch. We are hopping around trying to make it on our own. We are worn out, crippled emotionally, and in need of help. However, we are too proud to ask someone to help us. We keep pushing ourselves to make it on our own, but soon we realize we’re not making it. Sometimes we’re alone because we have never committed ourselves to the good of others. Our life has been about self; therefore, we have no one to count on when times are tough.
I am so thankful for my church family. For most of my ministry years I have been living far away from my biological family, and yet I have always had plenty of people to help me. As I look back over the last twenty years that I have been a committed part of a church family, I am reminded of so many people and their gracious gifts of kindness. You cannot put a price on unconditional love, nor can you begin to estimate the value of a Christian family.
If you are at time in your life when you need a crutch, I would encourage you to find an evangelical conservative Bible believing church and join it. Find ways to serve others and be a crutch for them. You never know when meeting the needs of others will simply eliminate your need for a crutch. However, please remember we don’t serve others for what we can get out of it. We minister to others as if we are ministering to Jesus.
So what are you waiting for? Go be a crutch and allow someone else to be a crutch for you!