Monday, April 20, 2015

QUOTING a Positive Word

I mentioned in the Let Him Clip the Chip post that God wouldn't let me speak a negative word over my elbow situation. Instead He filled my mind, my journal pages and my life with positive thoughts, pictures and Bible verses, directing my focus in their direction, instead.

The Bible tells us that God knows what we need, and that sometimes He has His answer in place before we even ask for help. Surely that was the case with me. Before I slipped on the ice that night, a coworker and I had been comparing notes on the weather conditions outside and discussing the driving difficulties we might encounter on the way home. I ended our discussion with the affirmation, “We're going to be fine.” I didn't realize at the time that the phrase was more than just an easy end to our conversations; it was instead the beginning of God's promise to carry me through a situation that hadn't even occurred yet. As situations developed over the next hours, days and weeks, God brought me back to those five words time and time again, and soon I came to realize that they were divinely rather than casually spoken, as repeatedly they chased fear and doubt away and left peace and hope in their wake.

As my first physical therapy appointment approached, I had no idea what to expect in terms of difficulty and found I was imagining the worst without having any basis for doing so. I asked God for something to change the direction of my thoughts. He gave me a silly little equation that I could easily remember and repeat when worried: PT=EZ4ME. PT is easy for me. I mumbled it constantly ahead of the first session and encouraged myself with it whenever I encountered an especially challenging moment or two in the middle of one. I reminded myself that difficulty would not be part of my experience, that PT was easy for me. And so it became; I looked forward to my sessions rather than fearing them.

There were times when despite the physical therapy in progress I doubted that my arm would ever be fully recuperated. To fight my growing negativity God took me to portions of Scripture describing Jesus' encounter with a man with a withered hand. Jesus told the man to stretch forth his hand, and when he did so, it “was fully restored like the other one.” He seemed to impress upon me that eventually the same would happen to me. I claimed that experience as my own in faith. And it seemed that whenever my belief in that promise would weaken, I would run into that story again, described in another one of the Gospel accounts. God kept it ever before me. One morning however as I looked despairingly at my right arm that seemed perpetually bent, He whispered, “You're looking at the wrong arm.” And suddenly I understood what He was saying. We become what we focus on. I was looking at the bent arm instead of the straight one that I was working towards. From that time forward I deliberately watched my left arm do the very actions I was trying to duplicate with my right and know that eventually their performance will be the same.

God is all about health and wholeness and encouraging us along the path of experiencing the same. In my case the muscles that needed the most therapy were surprisingly not the ones in my arm, but those in my mouth, my eyes, ...and between my ears.

Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit – you choose.”
(Proverbs 18:20-21 MSG)

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