I don’t know if anybody noticed, but my back was hurting Sunday morning. It started the Thursday before and continued to get worse. I guess standing up teaching Sunday School and preaching my sermon aggravated the injury.
As soon the closing prayer began, I walked off stage and could barely walk. As a matter of fact, I gently walked to my study, stayed awhile, and came out in a wheelchair.
I stayed in bed all the rest of Sunday and missed the AWANA Carnival. Something similar happened 2 1/2 years ago so I knew a little about how to take care of myself. I went to the chiropractor on Monday and every day continues to improve.
Before you feel too sorry for me, I got rest, read a lot of books, and spent time with my Lord. As I have reviewed the past few days, it is clear that sometimes things happen that we are unaware at the time but can have negative consequences on our life. I really don’t know what I did to my back. I’m sure I reached for something or bent down to get something and strained my back, but it was so insignificant that I don’t recall it. But I assure you, I know it now.
So here’s a little lesson I’ve learned the hard way (really I’ve relearned it): Today is simply the result of what I did, said, or thought yesterday. Life is like a path with many crossroads. Depending on which way I turn, will determine where I end up. If I don’t like my situation today, it’s probably because of some decision (or indecision) I made in my past. I heard someone say, ‘We are free to make our own decisions, but not free to decide the consequences of those decisions.’
Sometimes it’s like the “I could have had a V-8” commercial. We don’t realize how unwise our decision was until we begin to reap its consequences. And we say, ‘If I’d have known, I wouldn’t have done it.’ But it’s too late, right? Well, not exactly. It may be too late for the immediate consequences. For example, last week I would have given anything to have treated my back better earlier in my life, but it was too late. I hurt!
But I remember what my doctor told me the first time I hurt my back. As I get ‘older’ my bones and muscles deteriorate and I need to be proactive in strengthening them. He told me to stretch and exercise. Back exercises won’t help me today, but they will help reduce the difficulty in the future. So with the reality of back pain hitting me full in the face (or back), I am committed to doing back exercises every day. But the key to long term back health will be what I do when the pain goes away. I can improve my future back health by taking the necessary precautions (exercise) today.
So here’s my ‘spiritual lesson’. I can’t change yesterday. And today is the result of yesterday. But I can make good choices today that will determine what happens tomorrow. So the best thing for me to do today, is make wise, godly choices that I will be glad I did in the future.
In Stephen Covey’s book, Seven Habits for Highly Effective People, he calls this ‘begin with the end in mind.’ What do you want to be in a few years? Whatever that is, you are doing things today that will either bring you to that place or take you further away. That’s why I’m glad I had a a few days to think about my life and its direction. Forced reflection isn’t pleasant, but its good. Pain of any kind forces us to ponder the direction of our life.
This past week I’ve been able to refocus my life in relation to my ministry, my family, my spiritual life, and even my physical health. I hope you’ll learn from my journey and take a few minutes to sit back and think about the direction of your life. Plant some seeds today that will grow up in your life one day to nourish and shade you. Spend a few minutes in prayer to God. Tell your spouse and children you love them. Share the good news of Jesus with the next person you meet. Get help for that addiction that keeps pulling you down. And make sure you do a couple of back exercises.
What will you do today that will benefit you in the future?