A few years ago, while stepping down off the back patio at a friend’s house, I lost my footing, twisted my ankle and fell. As a result, I found myself face down on a brick walkway, grateful that I had hurt only my ankle.
Although the area began to swell, I didn’t think the injury would be much of a deterrent to my activities. After all, it was only a simple sprain, and I expected my ankle to continue to function as usual.
However, what I thought was a simple sprain proved to be not only painful but also very inconvenient. The ankle affected the foot, and the foot affected my entire body. Since I could place no weight on it, the rest of my body had to make up for what the right foot could no longer do.
I was never really aware of this foot until it could no longer function without pain. I had taken walking pain-free for granted. Even after I injured it, I thought, “This isn’t going to hinder me. I’m going about my business as usual.”
I thought wrong!
Whereas previously I could walk from one place to another independently, I now had to lean on something or someone else and hobble to my destination. In addition, when I wasn’t hobbling, I had to elevate the foot to keep the swelling down. I was out of balance and my mobility was greatly curtailed.
It’s funny that I was never conscious of the foot until it demanded attention. Now even simple activities were tedious. It took the strength of a gymnast just to perform routine tasks in the bathroom!
I had not realized how much I depended on that foot until it was out of commission. Then what I had never taken notice of before became my focus.
I am not by nature a patient person. So when an obstacle over which I had no control came into my path, I didn’t react well. I wasn’t happy to discover my limitations!
But I knew there must be a lesson in it somewhere. So I prayed, “OK. What is it, Lord?”
After reflecting, I realized that what had happened to me is a natural picture of a spiritual truth. When we are focused on something in the distance, we can become careless. We think we are standing on solid ground, but unless we are conscious of where we step, we can fall.
Also, when part of the body is hurt and cannot function, as it should, we are no longer able to ignore that part; we must tend to it. In addition, the other parts must compensate for the lack. This is difficult because they are unaccustomed to the strain. All of them must learn to adjust.
The body of Christ functions the same way. As believers, we can be intensely focused on something “out there” and lose sight of whether we are standing on solid ground and our steps are ordered by the Lord (see Ps.37:23).
Although the apostle Peter warns us to be vigilant and watchful of the danger the enemy can put in our way (see 1 Pet. 5:8), we sometimes ignore the admonition if things are going well, and we tend to focus on the bigger picture while overlooking little things.
When we focus on the wrong things, we lose our balance, fall, get injured, and need help and time to heal. The other members must not only come to our rescue but also take up the slack for the vacuum we leave, adding to the weight the whole body must carry.
The wrong focus is the crux of the problem. When we focus on something in the distance—such as ministry, career, future plans—and lose sight of our immediate surroundings—family, finances, relationships—we may not see the danger close at hand, and we can fall. Paul the apostle warns: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
We need to be vigilant and careful about how we walk this life of faith. Let’s stay close to the Lord and allow Him to order our steps!
PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 02/24/2014
This week ask the Lord to direct your focus so that you are aware of the little things that may cause you to trip in your spiritual walk. As you pray for the nations remember to include your own nation and community. Pray for the local authorities and educators in your area. Pray that God would raise up godly leaders in each of these areas. Continue to pray for the president’s protection and that he have godly wisdom in all his dealings. Pray for our governmental, national, local and spiritual leaders. Remember Israel, the Middle East, our military and the persecuted church around the world. Ask God for more laborers for His already ripe harvest field. 1 Cor. 10:12; 1 Pet.5:8; Ps. 37:23.