“But…the muscles of your knees will atrophy!” The horrified look on the face of one of the Radiologists I worked for, said it all.
I had run into this fine musculoskeletal radiologist in a back hallway of the medical institution I worked for. I didn’t usually work in this area, so we had not bumped into each other for a very long time. I was using crutches and he had asked me what I had done to myself. I had explained to him that my knees had become bone on bone and I could no longer walk without a great deal of pain. He had asked if I was getting my knees replaced soon, but my answer back to him had astounded him. I had told him that I had been approved for bilateral knee replacements, but didn’t feel I needed them yet. I had said that I thought I could get by like I was and was OK with simply using crutches until I could no longer make that work. It was then that he blurted out that the muscles of my knees would atrophy if they weren’t used. As soon as it was out of his mouth, he realized that what he said could be construed as giving medical advice and he said a quick, “Good to see you!”, and spun on his heels and walked quickly away. My mouth dropped open as I watched him go down the hall. His words had been a revelation to me. I absolutely could not afford to wait indefinitely to have my knees replaced or I would not have muscles left to make use of the replacements. I was rooted to the spot as I contemplated the ramifications of hobbling on crutches indefinitely. I quickly made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon and had my knees replaced shortly after that.
Having titanium knees really wasn’t my first choice. My first choice would have been to have strong knees that allowed my legs to carry me without pain, to kneel in prayer or to even stand in the kitchen long enough to cook a nice meal in the evening after work. As it was, I would get home from work and throw a quick meal together, and then go to the couch and try to supervise my children from there. The pain was debilitating at times and at times, one or the other of my knees would “lock-up”, making me fearful it wasn’t going to loosen again. The pain was intense and I never knew when one of my knees was going to give out and send me falling. No, having titanium knees wasn’t my first choice to serve my body, but; when my first choice failed me, I chose not to hobble on crutches any longer and took the plunge to have knee replacement surgery.
There was another unable to use his “first choice” when people he should have been able to count on failed him. Paul wrote from Rome, after he was brought before Nero for the second time, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.”, 2 Timothy 4:6. What happened to his first choice?
“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me.” 2 Timothy 4:10,11
These men were his peers, his fellow-labourers, his friends…but they departed from Paul when he needed them the most. He had to resort to sending for a man that most definitely wasn’t his first choice. (see 2 Timothy 15:36-39)
No, John Mark was not Paul’s first choice, but when others failed him in his evening hour, Mark did not.
“Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11
God has created the church to be much like a body and as a healthy body is its most efficient and effective when it is strong and healthy, so is the church. God expects unity in the body and care one toward another…church for church-saint for saint-pastor for pastor. God can do great things through unity in the body, and though he prefers to work with the churches that are in place and one body, just as he cut his people Israel off for a time and engrafted the gentiles into the vine, so he will cut individual assemblies off and replace them with those that will love him and serve him and work together in unity toward one goal. God has a first choice, but if we fail him, he will use another.
You know, I have been convinced for a while now that I wasn’t God’s first choice for the ministry he has placed me in. I believe someone else was created and placed on this earth to do what he now has me doing, but; somewhere…sometime…that person forsook their first calling and left a position open. I was not God’s first choice for what I’m doing, but I will be loyal to his sending. I will cooperate with the call and though I failed at one time just like Mark, I will not fail again. I will go where he is sending me…though it be to Nero’s court.
Let’s love one another and hold each other up. We need to be each other’s best supporter and cheer each other on. Leave the eye rolling and negative comments to those outside of the church.
In Christian love,
“17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?” Romans 11:17-24