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Monday, 8 December 2014


After a slipped disk ten months ago, I am left with a residual stiffness in the vertebra at my waistline. It doesn’t impair me or waken me at night; it reminds me to ‘ca canny’ (Scots for be careful) when faced with a heavy load to lift, push or pull. Engage the core, as the pilates teacher would instruct.

Also impaired by a frozen shoulder – but saying that, it isn’t so bad as many I’ve heard about, and apart from a few things I can still function normally. I’ve been told it could take at least another six months or more for it to right itself. 

So what do I say when kind-hearted folk ask me how these two things are? It’s a tricky one, because though these things aren’t perfect, neither am I popping pain pills or grimacing in pain, and my hope is that we are on the way back to full health. Just not there quite yet.

I’m wondering if the cautious approach in my answer – ‘still about the same’ – can actually trap me in the afflictions. Instead of looking ahead to the joy of full release from nagging aches, I am still testing myself hourly to see if those nagging aches remain. 

I wonder if that can happen in our emotional, psychological, and spiritual lives too. Because we are survivors of incidents or even total crashes in our past lives, we can get stuck in a rut of looking back at what has crippled us or given us a deep ache or pain. Instead we should be looking forward.

Paul recommends that we forget what is past and strain for what is coming – a perfect life in Jesus. Let go of the chronic reminders. Of course they are still there; they may always be there, but they should not be the focus nor the excuse of our lives but instead propel us to focus on the future. 

Jesus promises a hope and a future, without pain, without tears. Joy. Joy in Jesus. Joy to the world.

May you and I today begin to allow the grips from the past to lessen, so that we can press on into the future.

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