I didn’t think of myself as frail but after a recent experience I have had to revaluate.
It was (finally) a blue-sky day and my younger son was desperate to burn off some excess energy that had been buzzing around in his body for the past ten days of rain. The ground was drying but still not enough to have brought everyone out to the park and make things chaotic.
We headed to our local park with much joy and anticipation—the plan being to play tag. I really wish I could tell you that it was easy to catch him, but that speedy little guy has gotten too fast for me! I can only catch him if I wrong foot him, which I’m pleased to say I was able to do a few times to maintain my dignity. Slightly cheekily, he asked ‘Mum are you putting your best effort into it?’ Thanks mate—the joy of having a parenting phrase directed back at me.
While I was lying there with blood pooling from my chin, I was acutely aware of how incredibly fragile human bodies are.
We were just about to head off, with “last game” being called when unfortunately, I completely stacked it. Not partly, or slightly, but completely – lying 100% flat on the surprisingly hard ground. To this day I’m not exactly sure how I did it, but one moment I was standing upright running along after my son and the next my chin had taken the full impact of my fall. I was down smack on the ground, and it hurt, a lot!
While I was lying there with blood pooling from my chin, I was acutely aware of how incredibly fragile human bodies are. Skin is strong but no match for pavements from a height. Why had this happened to me and why now? I prayed that nothing was broken and that I would be able to get help.
Thankfully, I was able to get a lift to hospital and get sewn up. A CT scan showed that nothing was broken. But I felt broken. My head really hurt, my chin was throbbing, and my knee and hip were banged up pretty badly. I felt very sorry for myself, and my son had never seen me cry—no, sob—that much.
I gingerly nestled on my couch later that night and was skimming through Psalms trying to boost myself up and came across this verse that really resonated with me and my recent experience:
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
My flesh had really failed: I needed stitches to bring the skin on my chin back together again. Of course, in time, my skin will mend itself—God has made our bodies amazingly resilient. However, my body is getting older and tireder. I am sure that 10 years ago whatever tripped me up would not have caused such extensive injuries to me. I probably would have just caught myself before tripping over on my face. But 10 years ago, and right now, and 50+ years into the future, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever! What a joy and privilege.
Since stacking it, I have found a significant amount of encouragement in the below Matthew verse than I ever have previously.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
These days I often feel old and weary (certainly more so now), but being this sore was a burden. Never before have I fallen over my own feet before and caused myself such an injury, but now I sense that more of this could be coming.
I don’t know what the future on earth will hold … but we can know without a doubt that God is the strength of our heart and our portion forever.
How satisfying, then, to know that God gives us rest. This is such a peaceful reassurance and helpful when I’m sore and tired—and when I am being sewn together. We can confidently rest in Jesus at all times: in the good and bad and the ugly. Jesus makes us whole again and we can really rest deeply into that.
I will certainly be watching where I place my feet in the future, but I am sure that there will be more games of tag—although fewer where I actually manage to catch my son. But I also know for sure that there will be many more times when I can rest in Jesus. I don’t know what the future on earth will hold—none of us does—but we can know without a doubt that God is the strength of our heart and our portion forever. Amen