When I was in high school, I broke my foot. I remember arriving in law class on crutches and my teacher (who also happened to be my gymnastics coach) took one look at me and said, “Oh caca!” I tried to reassure her that it wasn’t a big deal because it wasn’t my landing foot. I was certain that after a couple of weeks, I’d be able to get right back into training because my healthy foot was there to bear my weight through all my leaps and I could easily use it to compensate for the weakened foot for everything else.
I soon discovered that there’s only so much bar-work and hand-stand practice you can do before you eventually have to land on your feet – whether one’s broken or not. And I realized that even though I wasn’t landing on that foot for my leaps, I still needed it to be strong enough to propel my body weight into the air to perform the leap before I had to worry about landing. That sucked. I felt like it was the worst pain ever. Such an inconvenience. It was getting in the way of everything else my body wanted to do!
Over the years, I have had lots of illnesses and injuries that were also the worst pain ever.
I put my back out last summer. It was a few days before our week-long family reunion camping trip. Not fun. Crippling back pain made everything about camping so stinking difficult! It was seriously the worst pain ever.
I had chronic tonsillitis as a kid. Every time I got a sore throat, I couldn’t talk or swallow. Not being able to talk is one thing (a blessed thing, if you ask my mother), but not being able to swallow…that can be life-threatening! That was the worst pain ever.
When I was 8 months pregnant with my second daughter, and my first daughter was 15 months old, I decided to get upper-cartilage piercings in both ears. That must have been a decision borne of sleep deprivation, and let me tell you, it only bred further sleep deprivation. Both piercings got infected and I could not lay my head on my pillow. Now, I can put up with a lot of stuff when I’m well rested. But no sleep for an extended period of time is The. Worst. Pain. Ever. Plus my ears really hurt.
And this past week, I had an infected finger. Look at this.
Okay, so I didn’t think to take a picture of it until it was mostly healed. But still, it was gross and it hurt. I never would’ve thought that the ring finger of my non-dominant hand was good for much more than displaying my wedding bling, but crikey! That sore infection got in the way of everything! Washing dishes, hanging laundry, doing yard work. Merciful heavens, every time I pulled my work gloves off, I inadvertently grabbed that finger. Yowsers! The worst pain ever.
Let me clarify: I am sharing with you my inner dialogue, which says, “I can’t believe this one tiny little injury can so detrimentally affect the rest of my whole body.” My external dialogue usually runs more along the lines of, “What sucking chest wound? It’s just a scratch. I’ve still got stuff to do.”
It’s true what the Bible says. (Please hold your sarcastic gasps of shock and wonder.) When one part of the body is hurting, it affects the whole body.
As members of the Body of Christ, we are designed to work together. All of the parts: big and small, visible and hidden, young and old – we all function better when we all do our part. When one of us is hurting (or just choosing not to contribute), everyone else is hampered in their functionality. All joking aside, that truly is one of the worst pains ever.
We need you. If you are new to the Body, please join in. If you’ve been around for ages, but haven’t fully engaged, now’s the time! You don’t have to be a super-star and we don’t expect you to do every job under the sun. But we want you with us. Your helpful and cheerful presence makes everyone else more efficient.
God designed you and me to honour Him with our joint efforts. We fulfill His purpose for our lives when we worship Him in service together. When you are missing from our midst, you are indeed missed. Come back. Join in.
Or maybe you’ve been part of the Body for a long time and you find yourself getting frustrated by the members that aren’t contributing. Well, friends, as much as we can lovingly encourage their participation, there is still work to do. Sometimes we have to compensate for the broken foot or the infected finger and just git ‘er done. Let’s choose to be joyful in that.
It is also unhealthy for the rest of the Body if one part is severely overworked. You may think you’re being so helpful and contributing so much because you’re capable of taking over all the jobs, but you may soon find yourself burnt out and useless.
I happen to have an example of that for you.
Due to some damage done to our yard by a construction crew this summer, plus numerous other valleys and ruts in various parts of the lawn, we had some serious repair work to tackle. Several factors (the weather, the availability of my husband’s truck during the day, etc.) aligned so that I decided to git ‘er done one day last week. Two cubic meters of dirt = 4 truckloads = 25 full wheelbarrow loads that I shoveled, wheeled around the yard, dumped, raked, seeded and raked again. Twenty-five full wheelbarrow loads, people. My arms and shoulders were somewhat immovable for a while after that. And that hampers everything else that I need to do on any given day. It was the worst pain ever. And this is how I walked for several days.