I am a list person. My lists help me control my time and resources, and I must admit I like control. Last winter my husband and I took our annual trip to India where we train leaders developing house church networks, and to visit orphanages and schools. Carefully managing both time and money, our schedules were packed tight.
We had arrived at our first site and were about to enjoy steaming cups of chai with our hosts. Then, as I stepped out of our bathroom, my foot slipped on the marble flooring, and down I went. I landed hard on my right side—I felt a sharp pain deep inside and split open my elbow, which bled everywhere. I managed to get up, passed out on the bed, got up again, and called for help.
I was bandaged and put into bed. Thus began twelve days of recuperation in which my ten by ten room became my new world. Meetings, flights, schedules—all evaporated into thin air. I was stuck. I could not get up without help and could not lie down without hurting. I spent most of each day sitting in a plastic chair trying not to move, and I spent the nights in agony. My lists were a joke, my control long gone.
As the reality of my situation sank in, I began to notice a change in my spirit. While my body suffered, my spirit began to rest. I could not change my circumstance, so it was time to trust God. I even found a little humor in total reliance on others to be fed, clothed, and bathed. Okay, God, You have my attention. What do You want to accomplish?
When there was little improvement in my condition by the end of the week, we scheduled an MRI and CT scan. The results showed a slipped disc, and I was ordered to stay in bed for several weeks. My husband decided to go on and salvage the remainder of our trip, while I stayed behind.
I was comforted by the two young servant girls who brought my meals and by several women who stopped by my little cell to pray for me, but I had a lot of time alone—alone with God. I released my usual grip on my schedule and just rested. Eventually a specialist overturned the verdict of a slipped disc, saying I had only deep bruising. I could travel whenever my body would tolerate it. I was free—or had I already been freed?
My twelve-day lesson in being rather than doing has had lasting consequences. I experienced the worst pain of my life, but strangely, it was a time of great inner peace. My spirit was renewed, and I think about those days with gratitude. My faith in God expanded as I was captured in His presence.