So let me just own this, for those of you who don’t know this about me. I can be stubborn and pigheaded. I want to believe that I can do things by myself. I want to hold on to every fragment of my independence that I can. I hate having to ask for help, but as Proverbs tells us Pride goeth before destruction. And so God has been working at breaking me of my pride. Ever since October 2006, I have had to humble myself and ask for help. I have had to ask people to take me to the store, to take me to work, to take me to the doctors, to take me to physical therapy, to take me wherever I have needed to go. And I will share with you that there have been days that I have been tired and frustrated and scared. But it is in those times, those very times, when I have been broken and scared and frustrated and wondering if God had forsaken me, that I have like David and like Jesus turned to God who is my brace in the midst of my brokenness.
On October 15, 2006, as I was opening my office door I felt a pain shoot down my right leg, followed almost immediately by numbness and a sense of shock. I also found myself going why now God as within minutes, my Bishop and his entourage were scheduled to arrive and I was bracing myself to figure out what was going on, how I was going to lead worship, and how I was going to manage to look like a calm, cool, collected leader in the midst of this storm that was suddenly and unexpectedly raging in my life. The words that kept floating through my spirit were peace, be still. Peace, be still. Through the grace of God and the support of my wife and good friends, my car and I got home safely.
Two weeks later, as I was getting up to pray in front of hundreds of people, I fell. My walker and I both came down to the ground and God whispered in my ear, peace be still. It was all going to be okay. I remember looking over at a colleague and saying would you pray please. And God whispered in my ear, brace yourself but know it is all going to be okay. A friend came over later and prayed with me and said God has given you a tool, use it. When I called my doctor to let her know I had fallen she got excited, she said great. Seems like now that I had fallen, the insurance company would allow her to order me a brace.
I have been wearing this brace, also known as an ankle foot orthotic since November 2006 and I have had a love hate relationship with it. I love that it makes it easier for me to walk. It holds my foot in position so that I am not tripping over my toes anymore. I have also hated it because there are times that I just cannot seem to be able to get my foot guided in to the shoe without wanting to scream, cry, and get frustrated. There are times when I just have to say ok – peace, be still. Then I try again and eventually I manage to get my foot in and get my leg strapped in. Sometimes, I have to ask my wife Zoë to help me.
There was a stage in my life when I was having these dreams about my back and my brace. In one of these dreams, I was looking at my shoes. One sitting on the floor with no brace and one with the brace in it. God asked me how many braces do you see. Easy answer right? One. Wrong. God said no. You have more than one brace. You only see one. See you are conscious of how I am your brace on your right foot because you are aware of the brokenness. You are aware of how when you stop and ask me to help you get your foot in your shoe, I help you. You know that your brace and shoe go on so much easier when I send you assistance.
Ok, so let’s talk about a second brace, one of the ones you don’t see. Do you not feel my presence as you slide your foot into your left shoe? Do you feel my presence as I help your fingers to fasten the straps? Can you feel me working through your nerves telling the left leg to work as consciously as you feel me working to tell the nerves in your right leg to work?
And let’s talk about the other times I have been there to brace your brokenness. I was the brace that held you together when your mother and father died. I was the brace that held you together when you didn’t know how you were going to pay your bills. I was, have been and always will be the brace for your brokenness. All you have to do is say yes!
What I have learned over time is this, God can and does brace our brokenness. Whether it is emotional, physical, or spiritual, God has a custom fit brace just for you. But you have to be willing to be fit.