After a year of praying about transition, I made the decision four months ago to leave my life in Montana and be freshly rooted in Colorado. This decision was precipitated from a dissatisfaction in the way I had structured my life in Montana. Most of my close community had left. I was at a dead-end job. I was also excited for a “fresh start” and the freedom it gave me to reorder my life around things that were important to me. I began taking steps forward.
Right away, God provided me with a meaningful job, a place to live, and a Christian community that walks in purposeful living for Christ. For a couple months, things were smooth sailing. I felt confident that God had brought me to Colorado. At the same time, God was preparing me for what I couldn’t see. He began speaking to me about His faithfulness to me regardless of what my circumstances are.
… “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
I had never thought of contentment being something that is learned, but it seemed like God was preparing my heart to be confident in His commitment to me during seasons of lack. I think it’s easy to falsely equate material prosperity, quick-fixes, and easy circumstances with God’s favor. I do believe that God loves to bless His children with good things, but God knows that true contentment is found in Him and His will is to draw us closer to Him in every situation.
In mid-November, I tore my ACL while bouldering. Although ACL injuries are common, ACL surgeries are fairly complex and have a long recovery time. I was suddenly faced with three uncertainties:
- Will I lose the job I love because it requires me to be on my feet?
- How will I be able to pay for my medical expenses?
- Will my new community be willing to walk with me through my recovery?
Regardless of these uncertainties, I knew that God was still with me and for me. In an instant, I discovered how much I had been relying on myself and how deceptive of a security that was.
Independence, Dependence, and Interdependence
It’s hard to see what the strengths and weaknesses of a culture are when you are immersed in it. As a young professional, I was excited for the opportunity to be self-sufficient, save, invest in my friends, pursue my dreams, and be “successful.” Not all of my intentions were bad, but I realized that a lot of my trust was in my independence and belief that I could build my own life. After my injury, I realized how shaky my foundation was. True success is in knowing Christ.
Although I do not believe that God caused me to sustain an injury, I see that He used it for His glory. I was never made to be independent. I can do nothing apart from Christ. God wants me to be fully dependent on Him.
Every morning before work, I began praying that God would give me the strength to walk. It’s easy to take the small things for granted, but there is so much of God’s grace and power evident in the little things.
My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare. (Psalm 25:15)
Then, something really beautiful happened. Two days after my accident, I arrived back to work on two crutches and knee brace. To my amazement, my coworkers surrounded me with love–empathizing with me and picking up the duties that I could not accomplish so that I would not fall behind. For two long months as I waited for surgery, my coworkers continued to take extra tasks upon themselves and I was able to do what I could and still be a part of the team.
I was also emboldened by the faith-filled prayers of my friends, who believe in God’s power and ability to heal. Throughout the journey, they expressed genuine concern about me and were always willing to encourage. A few generous friends felt led by God to give towards my medical expenses. In the end, two-thirds of my surgical cost were covered. God intends for each one of us to be interdependent on the community around us–freely giving and receiving. We won’t make it on our own. We get there together.
Faith and Healing
I had a roommate named Anna in college. During our time together, Anna injured her ACL. She fervently prayed and believed for God to miraculously heal her, up until the moment she was on the surgery table. She told the surgeon to perform the Lachman test one more time to make sure that she still needed surgery. Her faith has always inspired me.
I too believe and have seen God move in supernatural and inexplainable ways. The Bible tells us that “signs and wonders will follow those who believe” (Mark 16:17-18). But I began to feel conflicted between the peace that I felt from God to proceed to surgery and my desire to believe God for divine intervention. I began to wonder what faith looked like.
I think that in the past, I have tried to pigeon-hole God into intervening in the most miraculous display possible. Don’t get me wrong–I want to be a person who pushes the envelope in believing for God to move in powerful ways. I also think that it is possible to be so focused on a specific way that we desire God to move, that we can miss God’s intervention in another form. Maybe faith is believing that God will intervene on our behalf and that He will do it in the best possible way.
I do believe that God heals all the time. Miraculously. Instantaneously. Slowly. Through a community. With doctors. In this lifetime. In the next lifetime. I believe God is Healer and can move however He desires to.
On the Sunday before my surgery, I asked God to give me greater faith. Me and my roommate prayed for God to heal my ACL without surgery. As I was driving to work that morning, God gave me a realization. He opened my eyes to see all of the ways He has been faithful to meet me in my uncertainty and intervene on my behalf. I was filled with a new gratitude for my coworkers and was able to share with them that God had chosen them to be a direct answer to my prayer. God dismantled each of my three uncertainties about the future and brought me greater joy than I had at first.
And in the midst of healing, I feel whole.