Don’t Give Up!
24th Sunday Ordinary Time
September 17, 2023
Brothers and sisters, none of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord.
So then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
As most of you know, I had my left knee replaced about twelve weeks ago, and since then there has been tons of physical therapy and a challenging journey to wellness. Because I have really thrown myself into the therapy; great progress has been made. It’s amazing to go from a walker to a cane to full mobility. More work needs to be done. Apparently many who have gone through this get ahead of the therapy and do too much, causing a setback. Patience is required! I overdid it in the third week of recovery and had a five-week setback! But others simply give up.
God sends us spiritual lessons in the most surprising places, even in the Physical Therapy (PT) office today. If we pray regularly, we will be open to God speaking to us outside of our prayer time as well. The PT people are now getting me ready for the next few months of PT on my own. The therapist was amazed at my progress; so I said to him that I was doing all the exercises because I want my life back, my leg back, my exercise routine back! Then the PT guy said to me, “If only many of my other patients could hear that. So many of them give up on PT when it hurts, without realizing that without the pain, there is no gain. They give up too soon and never fully recover the full use of their leg or whatever it is.”
Never give up. God sometimes seems to be far away. Our prayer is dry and we feel little. We see little progress. Life is painful. We have a deep woundedness, not just physical but spiritual and relational, and God may seem absent or progress slow.
Never give up. It is in precisely these painful growth situations that God permits in our lives that we are very often making the most progress. The Lord loves you and will never ever abandon you, even though he may seem to be asleep at the switch or sending trials instead of healing. He knows what he is doing.
I will close this column with a quote from the great inventor Thomas Edison: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” But we are people of faith. The Lord will never give up on you. Don’t ever give up on him. He knows what he is doing, even if he seems to be taking too long.