Last week I was tossed in a 12ft wave off the coast of Nantucket, MA, and was left with a lisfranc fracture (5 fractures total – I essentially broke the arch in my right foot). I had a surgery adding some plates and screws, and will be off my foot and on crutches for about 8-12 weeks. Total bummer right? The day I got home from surgery, the anesthesia and the nerve block from my right leg started to wear off, resulting in the most painful 24 hours of my life. The Doc even okayed me to up the normal 1 Oxycodone every 4 hours to 3 pills every 3 hours. Still hurt…badly. Every hour I was cringing my teeth as I felt the newly acquired metal settling into my bones. I’m not much of a cryer – but I will admit, there were tears. As most humans probably do in moments such as these, I pondered why. What is God trying to teach me?
My first lecture at Duke Divinity came from Will Willimon in which he lectured/preached on Acts 9 – the conversion of Saul. Saul, an intense and unfortunately successful persecutor of Christianity is confronted on the road to Damascus (by JC himself) and blinded, left completely helpless and sketched out – without sight for 3 days. Cue Ananias, a local disciple, who is summoned by the Lord to go and cure Saul – to go and cure this man who has persecuted the church for so long, a man which Ananias is familiar with! The Lord comforts Ananias in saying that Saul will be an instrument, and continues saying “I myself will show him (Saul) how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” At this point in the lecture Willimon interjects, saying “I’m not sure who the conversion of Saul was harder for – Saul……or Ananias.”
During the heart pounding, teeth grinding pain from my complexly fractured foot, I was reminded that there is a cost to following Jesus……and I am not sure how or if this specific event is related, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Christ was tortured and nailed to a cross, so maybe me holding my broken foot and crying is the most Christ like thing I will ever do. There is a cost to following Jesus. This cost is great. Jesus tells us to “pick up our cross and follow him” (Matt. 16:24). Saul was blinded and terrified, Ananias was forced to heal this punk who was dissing the church. Anyone who claims Christianity boasts an absence in suffering or sacrifice, is lying. It is not easy, the road is narrow – but I can promise you this: there is no greater joy. Paradoxical? You bet. Welcome to Christianity.
Peace and Love,