I have just had major back surgery, following an accident in December last year. To be honest, I went into surgery without really knowing just how much of impact it would have on me. I had, after all, been walking around for ten months with a break in my spine, so surely surgery would improve things?
This thinking wasn’t quite right, and I soon discovered that there were many things that I now couldn't do. My head said yes, but my body definitely said no! In the first week after surgery I had my mum staying to look after me and help me. But when she went home, I really discovered that my life was hindered. It was an interesting time, working out ways of getting the simplest of jobs done in a safe, and relatively painless, way. Of course I had moments of disaster and laughter as each new challenge came.
This whole experience got me thinking about other ways in which our lives may be hindered; how our core beliefs may get in the way of true relationship and our ability to truly be ourselves. Perhaps a past embarrassment of failure stops us embracing or trying new experiences. Or could it be that the voices from long ago still shout loudly when we try to do what we know God is telling us to do? Maybe it’s people around us who, out of their own hindered places, seek to hold us back. These things all hinder us in our relationship with Jesus. They also prevent us from moving fully into the destiny that He has for us.
During my recovery time I had lots of opportunity to spend time with the Lord, especially reading His Word. This was such a pleasure to me, as I allowed Him to challenge me along the way, and deal with some niggling issues. One of the books I read was the book of Acts, which is basically the story of the spread of Christianity. The main character of the book is Paul, who went from persecuting Christians to being a man who preached about the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Through reading the various things that happened to Paul along the way, I realised that one thing stayed the same. He was dramatically converted and had a deep inner conviction of the truth about Jesus. It was that deep conviction, or knowing, that kept him steadfast in all he went through. Paul remained honest about the past, and who he had been, but the strength of his conversion made people listen to him. And although he went through imprisonment, ship wreck and trials, Paul never lost sight of His Saviour. I encourage you to read the book of Acts for yourselves so you get the full picture.
Paul didn't allow the things of the past to get in the way of his today, or his future. Then, at the very end of Acts, in the last two verses, we read today's scriptures. What wonderful hope they bring, that, after so much determination on his part, he experienced the faithfulness of God. I take great comfort in knowing that whatever I may face, if I hold fast to the conviction of the Holy Spirit on the inside, then all will be well.
Prayer: Oh Lord, thank You so much for saving me and calling me to be Your child. I recognise that there are many times that I let You down and hold on to the things of the past rather than You. Today I choose to let go of those things and not allow them to hinder me. Thank You that You’re faithful and trustworthy, Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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