Last Sunday I caught up with Andrew, one of our teenagers, who broke his leg badly this summer when skateboarding at the Courtice Community Centre. He will be out of commission for awhile, but I re-assured him that you can recover from a severe break to run marathons. Perhaps, one day, he will do just that!
Then, on Tuesday, I heard that Brian had broken five toes at work when a steel beam fell on his foot. That same morning I also learned that Rick had been hit by a car on Bond Street while riding to work on his motorcycle on Monday. He suffered a broken leg and broken shoulder, as well as numerous bruises. It happened when a driver cut him off while abruptly crossing several lanes of traffic to enter a driveway.
When I visited Rick he thanked God and praised the gear that he always wears. On warm, sunny days, many riders head out in blue jeans and t-shirts. In some States, including Hawaii where we saw people riding motorcycles and mopeds in flip flops and bathing suits, people even ride without helmets. Not Rick. He has protective armour that covers him from head to toe and he refuses to ride without it, even when it’s 30 degrees Celsius. So he suffered none of the road rash and deep gashes that even cyclists experience when they go down at relatively low speeds.
All of this got me thinking about two things.
First, I was amazed again at the way that life can change in an instant. One second you’re skateboarding, working or motorcycling. Life is good. The next second you’re in agony, receiving medical help and set on a course of healing, physio-therapy and forced inactivity. And life is painful.
That life changing microsecond between the old normal and the new normal can never be changed. You can’t go back and hit rewind or delete. “If only” thoughts are just an exercise in frustration. All you can do is take stock of your new situation, thank God that it wasn’t worse, and co-operate with the healing process while trusting in the Lord to provide. You can also welcome a time of healing as an opportunity to reflect on your life and re-arrange your priorities, putting God first. That life changing, irretrievable nano-second can even be a necessary humbling reminder that we really are just “a moment” and a “vapour”, while God is forever and eternal, as the song Be Unto Your Name says so well.
Secondly, the Rick’s protective gear reminded me of the armour of God that the apostle Paul wrote about in Ephesians 6. “Put on the full armour of God,” Paul advised, “so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” He then went on to list the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit (the Bible), and prayer.
His first century audience would have pictured a soldier readying himself for battle. We picture that, too. But we can also visualize a biker getting dressed for street or off-street riding. And like that biker, it’s best to put our protective gear on before we get side swiped by temptation or a trying test, rather than living to regret the fact that we were not prepared for spiritual warfare when Satan aimed a destructive shot our way.
I wish physical healing for all who are dealing with broken bones right now. Even more, I wish God’s spiritual protection for every one of us who, in a moment, can be attacked and thrown off the path that leads to life and true joy.
- Pastor Peter