Sitting in the hospital coffee shop, crutches by my side, drinking a Flat White which is a good few degrees too hot for my tastebuds I am reminded, with renewed freshness, of something God spoke to me five weeks ago that I want to pass on to you. Having recently ruptured my achilles tendon playing tennis with a friend, I sat in my living room praying. Although thankfully painless in my body, I was feeling the emotional weight of what had happened, my mind full of all I was going to struggle to do now that my leg was strapped up in a medical boot. As I sat there with God, I asked Him to give me His perspective on my predicament. I felt him speak these words into my heart, “Kier, learn to go at my pace.”
All those weeks ago, having heard God speak to me, I decided that I wanted to come out the other side of this with more than just a healed tendon. I wanted to come out with something eternal, the kind of thing you can only get when you surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to search you and know you (See Psalm 139).
But first, context.
I have always enjoyed a fast pace of life. I filled my time with many activities – from exercising to socialising and all the errands and chores in between, not to mention trying new hobbies (ask the people who helped me and my wife move house a few months ago). Life often feels like it hardly slows down, and I must be honest, I quite like it that way. But five weeks ago this unexpected injury occurred. How frustrating! Things like this don’t happen to me, I’m strong, capable and fit…But it has happened to me.
The novelty of crutches quickly wore off, and the medical boot being the hot topic of conversation quickly faded away. Over the first week my mind was awash with all the things I could no longer partake in. The frustration of the estimated recovery time loomed over head like a giant grey cloud in the shape of a stupid boot. I couldn’t run, drive, do the DIY in my home, or move up and down stairs with any dignity. On the day I finally decided to bring it before God and ask Him to give me His perspective I found He was more than willing to speak. I felt that still small voice of our Heavenly Father asking me the question above, “will you allow me to take you through this at my pace?”
Following Jesus isn’t a free ride.
Now at this point it needs to be said that I don’t believe God caused this to happen (I can’t blame him for my bad tennis technique) – things like this happen in life and I no more believe that God did this to me than I believe that the earth is flat. I also believe that God is a God of healing, and one touch from him could fuse my tendon back together in a moment. But I am not God, so while I believe that he can do that and I, along with others, have been asking him for complete healing I don’t want to miss all the other things He is doing in the meantime.
Romans 8:28 tells us that ‘God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.’ If you’re a follower of Jesus, that’s you and me and I for one know that there is more available for me through this than physical healing – an opportunity for God to restore more than just my ankle. He is doing a work that will go deeper into my life than just these weeks of recovery. His call to me has been clear: “Kier, will you let me set the pace of your life? Regardless of what you think you need to be achieving or doing, will you trust me that I see the end from the beginning and this boot, and these crutches aren’t slowing down my purposes for your life?”
God is the pace-setter.
For me I have somehow believed that activity equals purpose and ticks on my to-do list each week meant I was getting somewhere. Today, perhaps you’re not strapped up in a support boot, or recovering from a physical injury, and maybe you’re not racing on ahead ticking off to-do lists and social calendars – perhaps, instead, you are letting life meander by without so much as a thought of where you are going. Either way I believe there is an invitation for each of us as we leave this summer behind. Will we trust Him to set the pace for our lives? Will we trust Him to get us where He intends us to be, when we need to be there at every moment of our lives? If you are going too fast, will you slow down until you’re in step with him? If you’re taking your sweet time, will you allow him to speed you up gently but firmly until you’re running with him once again? And will you allow the good times and the tough times to form something greater and longer lasting in you than you might first see. No matter how long it takes you to go through your valley, whether you see the miraculous touch of God or you experience His kindness and grace to go through it, let what is going on form in you an eternal weight of His glory that is beyond all comparison.