If We Do Not Give Up

If We Do Not Give Up
9 “ And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. “ Galatians 6:9
In the middle of November, I woke up and could barely move. My back was locked up and I was miserable!!! Because of a medical condition, I cannot take anti-inflammatory medication so I struggled with what to do. My husband found a local Chiropractor that is part of a holistic medicine practice. My initial thought was “Quack,” I am not doing that. But I was in so much pain that I thought, “what do I have to lose?” The first day I walked in painfully with each step, stooped over, and not able to get comfortable in any position. When I left, I was able to stand up straight, but each step still hurt and I still couldn’t get comfortable. Three times a week, I have gone to see the doctor. During this time, we have talked about my nutrition, my stress levels, and putting margins in my life. Along the way, my back would feel better, only to have my knee in agony. Then we would get the knee fixed and the back would hurt again. I was a mess!!! Desperate, I listened to what the doctor said. I worked with the nutritionist. I found an herbal anti-inflammatory. I began working with a physical therapist that has me walking like a Barbizon model and I purchased lovely black tennis shoes to match my dress pants. And a month later, you know what???? I feel so good!!! Truly I feel like a new person.
This morning, I woke up feeling so well, my first thought was I don’t even need to go see the folks at this clinic today. I am good as new! But then I remembered the Chiropractor saying, “you will think you are better before you are healed.” So I went in this morning for treatment and for physical therapy just as it had been prescribed. One of the reasons, I was sure to go back was the relationship I had developed with each of the folks at the clinic. They truly care about my health and about me. They gently hold me accountable and push me, but I know it is for my own good. I couldn’t stand those folks up.
When I got there, we joked that I felt like some folks that I have known in my congregations. The ones that come to church because there is a crisis in their life and they are in agony; paralyzed by the fears of this life. Skeptical of the church, but in so much pain they think “What do I have to lose?” They are greeted with love and the healing words of the Good News. They learn the beginnings of discipleship: Faithful prayer, regular worship, studying the scripture, attending to the sacraments, and meeting with others to discuss their faith. In a few months, their life is so much better… they feel like new. Sometimes, they recognize that these life changes… these faith changes are the cause of this new peace, but other times they do not. Sometimes when life gets better, they stop coming to church. They stop attending to the means of grace. They feel they can go alone for a while. Not realizing “you will think you are better before you are healed.” Of course Christ offers forgiveness to us through justifying grace, but as Methodists we know that grace continues throughout our lives…the doctrine of perfecting grace. We believe that God loves us just where we are, but loves us far too much to leave us there. It made me wonder, are we being the church where people think, “I can’t stand these folks up… they love me. They gently push me and hold me accountable. They want the best for me. They are truly helping me in my faith”? As churches are we greeting folks with unconditional AGAPE love? Are we welcoming and sharing the Good News? Are we teaching the means of grace? Are we gently holding folks accountable to a new way of life? Are we being the church? No one forced me to go back to the clinic this morning, but I went anyway. I thought I felt good going in, but after another adjustment… I felt even better. I still have weight to lose, bad posture to correct, more adjustments and many physical therapy exercises to do. But here is what I have realized… Feeling better, being absent of pain, is still not the same as being healthy. And finding peace in the midst of the storm, is not the same as knowing God’s perfect peace. I am not ready to give up on being healthy because I feel better. May we seek God’s perfect peace… and may we reach out to others to encourage them on their journey… reminding them… there is even more!!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Dr. Leah Hidde – Gregory

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