After carefully examining David's feet in November, the orthopedist offered him an invitation. She could straighten his feet that were turned in 30 degrees, if he chose surgery. Charly and I decided to step back and let David make the choice himself. On the drive home from the hospital that day, he wrestled with what he saw as the pros and cons. Being in a wheelchair for a month post-surgery seemed to be the most difficult part for him. But the thought of having straight feet for the rest of his life won out in the end, and he said “yes” to surgery.
Three weeks ago, he was full of courage as he underwent extensive surgery on both of his legs: breaking the bones, twisting them into proper position, and resetting them with plates and pins. But after surgery, he doubted that he made the right decision. He didn't know it was going to hurt so much.
Sometimes invitations bring unexpected results.
We say “yes” to a desired outcome, but find ourselves despairing through difficult days of darkness and doubt. Wondering if the valley of the shadow of death is going to be our permanent residence or if we might actually emerge to experience light and life on the other side again.
For David, an active 12 year old, feeling miserable and confined to his hospital bed with heavy casts on his legs for two days was like a prison. There was improvement after we got home, but he still found himself stuck on the sofa or in his wheelchair, in our not-very-wheelchair-friendly house. It has been a challenge for our tough boy to ask for assistance when he needs a cup of water or to go up or down the stairs. While he was experiencing unrelenting pain, he was forced to admit multiple times throughout the day and night that he needed more medication. And watching Daniel–who only had surgery on one foot and hasn't struggled with pain, energetically hopping around the house and going back to school sooner—has been hard.
Maybe David should have said “no” to surgery and bypassed the pain of recovery.
But then he would have missed the invitation God was extending: to a greater Trust and Dependence, as he experienced the stripping away of much of his self-reliance and independence.
These past three weeks, God has been working through David's doubt that he made the right decision, by giving him eyes to see the opportunity that he has to Trust God with more of his life.
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23: 1-4
Oftentimes difficulties bring unexpected blessings.
God has used David's dependence as an opportunity for greater bonding within our family. It was a memorable moment for me when he reached up for the first time in the hospital to put both arms around my neck and I scooped him up under his broken legs to carry him to the bathroom. I realized that God was extending an invitation not only to David but to me as well--through David's helplessness--to care for him in ways that I have not been able to do since he joined our family as an independent 8 year old.
God is allowing us to create new bonds of Trust in this recovery time of brokenness and need.
When we are closed in by clouds of doubt and are questioning the "yes," we can choose to accept God's invitation to trust Him more deeply and receive His blessing.
In what areas of your your life is God inviting you to a deeper level of Trust?