Wednesday, February 16, 2022

 Shepastor: "Lean in and Bend..."

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Psalm 92: 12, ESV

Over the past few months I have been engaged in pool therapy for my knees. After breaking my ankle back in 2019, my osteoarthritis escalated and greatly impacted my walking and climbing of stairs - UGGH!!! Pool therapy has been wonderful, especially since the pool is intentionally warm. I also look forward to spending time in the heated whirl pool following intense exercise in the water!

Although I am doing much better, my knees still are not "100%." I cannot walk for very long distances without taking a break and stairs remain a challenge. On a positive note, I have lost 27 lbs., (WOO HOO) and am growing stronger daily. 

The other day, I discovered something that made a world of difference in my stair climbing. While in the water, I experience no pain when doing stair exercises because the water takes the pressure off of my joints. But on dry land, it's a different story. Although better, pain is remains a part of the picture on stairs. The other day, as I began my journey upstairs, I approached the steps differently. Rather than just bending my knee, I leaned in as I bent, placing my weight on my knee while I was leaning in. 

Wallah! No pain! I tried the same motion on the next stair. No pain! I continued all the way up the staircase, little to no pain! I immediately thought about the actions of "leaning and bending" in terms of our spiritual walk with the Lord. Sometimes during prayer, we don't lean into listening, waiting and hearing God's directives. Instead, we "stiffen" our hearts, our minds, our decisions, etc., refusing to bend or lean in to learn more. So often, we approach prayer with our minds already made up, making our experiences more challenging.

Consider Palm trees. They are famous for bending, but not breaking. They bend down during storms and strong winds. By leaning in and bending, they preserve their lives and ability to rebound and stand tall. We can learn a lot from palm trees! 
When we refuse to be flexible, malleable, or open to God's voice, God's leading, different options, new perspectives, fresh ways, increased pain sets in. We become weary and discouraged. When our plans don't prosper, the pain increases. But if we choose rather, like palm trees, to lean in and bend, we may still experience some level of pain and discomfort, but as our spiritual muscles become stronger, we will find it easier to navigate God's new terrain for us. We will continue to grow strong and stand tall through Christ. We will discover a new, that God's plans are the best plans for our lives.

Today, I encourage you to lean in and bend to God's will and purpose for your life. When you do so, healing, strength and fresh vision will come your way! 

In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris