July 11, 2011

A few months ago my two-year old son, Everett, broke his femur.

Because of his age, the doctors put him in what’s called a Spica or Body Cast rather than using rods and pins. When he first got his cast on, all he could (or would) do is lie around on his back. We had to carefully pick him up and move him from place to place. As time went on, he went from being completely immobile, to almost running in it! It really was amazing to see the resiliency of this little guy.

But then it came time when his leg had healed enough that the cast needed to come off. We, of course, were excited for him, but as soon as they removed his cast, he wanted it back on! He was so insecure right after getting it off, that the doctor actually put a temporary cast/splint back on his leg. He didn’t need the splint because his leg was healed, but he had grown so accustomed to the cast and relied it for so long that he was unsure he could move around without it! With the body cast on, his leg had become weak and he had developed little habits that only worked with the cast on, so even a day or two later he would ask about his cast! The only way for his leg to get stronger was for him to start using it, but he didn’t trust the weakened leg. Even though he had gotten good at moving around with his cast, this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. He was still wearing a body cast!! His body was designed to move freely–with full movement of his hip, knee, ankle, and waist. The cast was temporary…with a purpose for healing…and the goal was to restore his body to full freedom of movement.

Can you imagine wanting to put something on your body that was so physically restricting? Something that makes everything you do more difficult and you could move so much more freely without it?

What about our spiritual lives? Sometimes we become so accustomed to being restrained that we begin relying on whatever is restraining us for our security. Sometimes it is sin…a sin that has “held” us in bondage (Hebrews 12:1). The very thing keeping us in bondage becomes, at the same time, a familiar crutch that we can’t imagine life without. Sin can create a dependency in our lives that just about anyone from the outside can see is harmful, but from our perspective there’s “comfort” or “normalcy” to it. 

Some things are clearly contrary to a life in Christ–like sin. However, sometimes there are things in our lives that have served their purpose for a season. God has brought us to a place He wants us, but as He grows us, heals us, strengthens us, He then wants to move us on or remove us from that comfortable place. But we are often reluctant because we don’t want to give up the feeling of security or familiarity. It’s not sin, but God still wants to take it out of our lives and move us on. He wants us to grow in our relationship with Him by solely trusting and relying on Him and He may also be planning to prepare us for service elsewhere.

Fast-forwarding to today, Everett is almost moving around like his old self. His muscles are strengthening more each day and he has stopped asking about the cast. The doctors assured us that he would adjust and that his femur bone would actually be stronger now than before he broke it!

I believe God makes the same promise to us. So whether it is sin that we have become comfortable with (as David was until confronted by Nathan..2 Samuel 12) or a circumstance that we have perhaps become passive in or that God, in His sovereignty, just wants to move us out of for His purposes and glory (as when God sent Moses back to Egypt…Exodus 3), God can’t use us until we surrender our lives to Him (Romans 12:1). No matter what it looks or feels like from the human perspective, total surrender will bring the growth, contentment, and freedom we long for!

Article contributed by Daryl Barker, Director of MMI for the Master’s Men ministry.