Wooden cross in the Good Shepherd Chapel



Spiritual Muscle

Lent 2018

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:1-5

I remember being young, athletic and feeling somewhat indestructible. I had made it all the way through high school without having ever broken a bone, or suffering a serious injury. I could run up several flights of stairs without feeling winded, I could swim countless laps without stopping, and I remember thinking I would always be in great physical shape. That all changed when I starting playing intramural basketball my freshman year at Christ College (now known as Concordia University Irvine) in 1992.

One winter evening, I fell during a game right after I made an easy layup. I could not get back up! I had torn the ACL in my right knee. It started swelling right away, and I needed assistance just to get back to my dorm room. Next came a seemingly endless procession of doctor’s appointments, MRIs and eventually: reconstructive surgery. It was decided that after surgery, I could not remain living on campus. I had to move back home with my parents.

I went from living completely on my own for the first time to moving back into my childhood home within a matter of days. I needed help bathing, getting dressed, and I could not drive myself anywhere for many weeks. After surgery and at the beginning of rehab, I noticed that I had lost all muscle tone in my right leg around my knee. I even had to learn how to walk normally again. Even more difficult was knowing that I could not play any sports for at least six months. I was completely dependent on my mom. It was humbling to say the least.

What do you do when you fall and can’t get back up on your own? You fall into the arms of Jesus. I love the book of Romans and remember reading chapter five during this time in my life. I did not understand why I had sustained an injury, but I asked God to guide me through the process that would eventually lead me to hope. Over the next six months, I learned to lean on God and my mom for support. They both poured love into my disheveled 18-year-old self that gave me the perseverance to learn to walk and eventually run on my own.

My sophomore year, I moved back onto campus with all its freedom. I was no longer the same person. My physical muscles were slowly repairing and my spiritual muscles had grown stronger. We all will go through suffering in our lives. As a Christian who has been justified by faith, we have the confidence of peace with our Lord.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for pouring your love into our broken and suffering souls. Your hope will never fail us in times of trouble. Amen.

Noël Manske Fairchild, '96
Director of Youth Ministry at Light of Christ Lutheran Church

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