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LIMPING ALONG

Jane M. Phinney | May 25, 2020 |


The other day I found myself in the dirt. Falling is one of my hidden fears & it happened before I even saw it coming. I was outside, watering a few new plants. I turned, aiming to quench the thirst of 2 bushes by the fence. I didn’t see the holes dug by our puppy. I tried to recover but the second hole was my final demise. Finding myself off balance, down I went! I landed on my side with my head just inches from a row of dividing rocks. My daughter screamed & came running. Thank the Lord for His protection! I walked away from that incident with only a few bruises.

I have had seasons of limping in my life. Born breech & folded in half, I limped until my Grandma took me to a chiropractor at 3 years old. Apparently, I had a dislocated hip from the birthing process. I was an active, outdoor girl with lots of normal scrapes, falls, & sprains. But an exercise injury at 26, working together with unknown arthritis in my hips, resulted in a host of problems. Limping was my indicator that my mid-section was “whacked.” Fast forward 20 years & I found myself to be the youngest dual hip replacement recipient in Arizona…at that time anyway. For the most part, my limping days were over. Or so I thought. Then came drop foot 7 years ago.

God has used my physical liabilities to reveal spiritual truth. Nothing is a waste to Him. 😊Limping makes me feel vulnerable. Tripping happens more easily than with someone who has a normal gait. I kid you not! The simplest thing can make me trip. As a result, my body lives “on guard,” aware of itself. It warns me. Oftentimes I need to employ external supports, like a brace or a cane or hanging on to someone’s arm. If not using those, I have no choice but to move slower to protect myself. We can take something for granted…until we lose it. Initially, I struggled with the frustration of being physically left behind. No one likes feeling out of the mix, but even well-intentioned folks forget. It was hard to hear one of my grands say, “Oma can’t do that anymore.” New boundary lines were automatically drawn. The grass seemed greener on the other side of the fence. But then, I realized that my limitations are someone else’s green grass. In truth, we all need help in one way or another.

In I Kings 18 the story is recorded of Jezebel destroying the prophets of the Lord. In response, Elijah has gathered Israel at Mount Carmel along with 850 false prophets –450 prophets of Baal & 400 prophets of the Asherah—who “eat at Jezebel’s table.” In his opening statement he strongly admonishes them for their contradictory lifestyle. “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. But the people did not answer him a word.” (vs 21) Get this! The literal meaning of hesitate is “to limp on the two divided opinions.” When faced with this heavy admonition, the people were silent. Silence is an answer. It was then that Elijah forced the issue & proved God’s supremacy. Wow! (Read the powerful account in Chapters 18 & 19) Sometimes we need a serious wakeup call to get off the fence, to stop limping along & ignoring the truth in life’s situations. I don’t think there’s anything more dangerous spiritually than hesitating. It’s an open door to regret.

When teaching our daughters to drive, Steve used to say, “He who hesitates dies.” Though referring to second-guessing in the middle of an intersection, it fits spiritually too. Hesitating can kill you physically in a car. Hesitating spiritually is second-guessing God. A divided mind cannot make clear, unbiased decisions. A divided mind gives audience to the enemy of your soul, your “Jezebel,” so to speak, picking & choosing the parts of Truth that serve your purposes. The inner turmoil can eventually blind your eyes, plug your ears, & squelch your voice. Being wishy-washy takes a toll. You are alive in your body but complacent & dead in your soul. James calls it being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.(1:8) Again, the literal meaning of double-minded is doubting & hesitating.

You cannot count on double-minded people. They change their minds like the weather. On any given day, you don’t quite know what you’ll get. Unlike our Faithful Father, these folks are fickle. They not only bend under pressure but are often completely uprooted. And they do not stand the test of time. You have likely witnessed this dynamic at some point. You know this to be true because you either see this limping pattern in your own life, or you have experienced the effects of someone else’s spiritual hesitation. Both are deadly. There are no perfect people. But we have a Perfect God who uses imperfect people with a singular mindset produced from a personal relationship with Christ Jesus. Bottom line: You can count on them because ultimately, they count on Him.

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