Sidelined. . .
Nathan Naversen

Have you ever been "sidelined"? Today and for the next few weeks I will be unable to play flag football with you because of a surgery which left me with several stitches in my back. The story will help you gain insight into how God works in our lives when we have no control. To tell the story let us go back in time to just about 24 hours ago today:

I walked into the doctor's office, knowing that I had a rather annoying cyst growing in my back. At first I thought it was a pimple but it grew and after two years just hadn't gone away. I don't know how many of you have been to the doctor's office lately, but it's not always a pleasant place to visit. After all, I knew that before I left someone would give me a shot of medicine to numb my back. Someone would cut deep into me to remove a part of my body that I had never seen. Someone would cauterize my wound and apply multiple layers of stitching to sew me back together. Most unsettling to me was that during the entire surgery I was to be awake, to experience everything that was happening to me, yet I had no control over the situation at all. After all, the cyst, buried deep in my back was completely out of my reach in every way.

So I stepped into the cold examination room, removed my shirt, and laid down upon the exam table. The sterilized table paper crinkled as I pressed down upon it to let the doctor and his assistant start their work. After my back was completely numbed up, the surgery began. I couldn't feel anything, but I could tell that I was being cut into by the way my skin and muscles tugged up and down my back as the doctor operated. It was very unsettled knowing that someone was cutting into me and I could barely even feel it. What if something went wrong? Could I be permanently maimed? I really got worried when I saw a drop of my own blood splatter on the exam table next to where I was laying. Here I was, lying completely helpless. I had something inside of me that needed to be gone, yet I needed to trust and rely completely on the people operating on me. Would this be a difficult experience for you as well?

But before I really started to worry (and because I had nothing else to do) I began to look at my situation in a completely different light. First of all, I decided that I had nothing to worry about. Removing a cyst is usually a very simple procedure. My doctor had been doing this sort of work every day for the last 25 years. He is one of the most experienced, highly qualified experts in dermatology on the West Coast. The more I listened to his calm banter the more I realized that this was very a routine procedure to him and that he was in complete control of the entire situation. And what's more, I realized that to him, I was quite possibly the most special patient he had ever cared for. You see, the doctor that operated on me is also my dad. Once I remembered how much he loved me, that he would never let anything happen to me, I really began to completely trust in him. I realized that there was no one in the world I would rather trust with this surgery than him. After all, this was my dad and he had my best interests at heart. From that moment on my surgery was a breeze.

Think about this today: Is there something in your life that is keeping you "sidelined"? Is there something that has happened to you that has hurt you deeply, something that you can't fix on your own? Some of you struggle with a horrible boss or working situation that you cannot change. Some of you have been deeply scarred by sexual, emotional or other physical abuse. Some of you have experienced a nasty divorce or breakup. Some of you struggle with money, and some of you struggle with alcohol. Is there a difficult situation happening to you that you feel powerless to fix? Consider this: Maybe God has begun to work in your life to make things happen in ways that you could never do yourself. After all, God loves you and always has your best interests at heart.

Today, whatever your circumstance, when life leaves you sidelined: Remember that God can heal you in ways that you cannot, and all you need to do is trust in him. His work in you is sometimes scary to go through but it's always just what you need. Let him do the work in you while you rest. Remember that no matter how close or how far away from Him you feel right now. Whether you go to church every week or haven't been in years.... You are his special child and your master surgeon always has just the right medicine to heal you and make you whole again.

Today's power verse: Jeremiah 29: 10-11 " 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future ."

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