After my ACL reconstruction surgery, part of my healing was to be in a knee bending machine for 6 hours a day. Since I was to spend so much time with this new-found knee bender, I named him Bob Bender! I also named my crutches, Bob and Larry. Mr. Icey became the name of the ice pad and cooler machine for my knee. This added some laughter into the quietness of the day until my home came alive with my children and husband at days end.
I struggle with quietness. When I desire things to be quiet, they aren’t and when there is quiet I need noise. I listened to music, talk radio, spent some time writing, talked to friends, anything to keep my mind busy and noisy to get through the day. One day in particular, I sat on my couch and gave into the quietness around me when my mind turned and focused on Bob Bender. I watched as Bob brought my knee up to whatever degree we were bending to and then watched Bob slowly deliver my leg back to a straight position. I listened to the squeaks and the low hum Bob made as he bent my knee for me. Up and back again, time after time, doing what I couldn’t do on my own. As Bob brought my knee up to another bend, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT) “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
As I sat and soaked in the meaning of this verse, I thought of the times in my life where I believed I was standing strong but as I watched Bob bring my knee up again for me, I realized I never truly stood strong on my own accord. I looked at the bending as succumbing to temptations around me that I am privy to. Throwing Bob or Larry the Crutch was one that I did give into almost on a daily occurrence until I was able to walk without their aid, but, that is silly in comparison to the temptations I encounter on a daily basis. I am tempted to gossip, covet, lie, swear, compare, hide and the list goes on. There are so many times in life where I should have turned to run away from the temptations in front of me, but I didn’t. Where I felt justified, I shamed someone with my words. When I should have spoken up on someone’s behalf, I didn’t. When I should haven been quiet and listened, I opened my mouth to speak my opinion, my way, my will. Everything that is “my” is just me on my own accord, my own strength, my own mess.
As Bob, took my knee up for another bend, I began to see the bending differently. Instead of bending to the temptations I’m accustomed to, I began to see it as bending from my will. When Bob takes my knee to a bending angle that is painful or uncomfortable and I feel I can no longer handle the pressure, that is when Bob slowly takes my knee back down for me. This is what God does for me too. When things or people in my life tempt me, He asks that I seek and bend into Him. Sometimes that means, when I’m tempted to gossip, I should get off the phone or literally excuse myself from conversation. When I’ve shamed someone in my justification, I should apologize and ask for forgiveness. When I’m to listen, I need to truly listen and not speak. These are all things that when I bend my will to God, I’m met with his extended hand, enduring the temptation to carry me through. It is only in Him that I can stand strong against the temptations around me. I cannot do it in my own will at all. I need to bend into Him for shelter and direction. Sometimes I may need to just bow my head and bend into Him to help me weather the storm of the messes I’ve made and people I hurt. He is faithful and will help me get through anything even when the pressures are more than I can possibly stand.
As I ended my bending session that morning, I took comfort in knowing that Jesus is the way out. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18 (NIV). For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (NIV).