The Atrophy of Faith

A few years ago, I had to have surgery on my knee. In the period that followed, due to immobility, the muscles in my leg started to atrophy.

They visibly looked different.
I deeply desired to do what I used to be able to do. I was physically incapable at that point. I had to work and work to get the strength back. Today, several years later, I can do what I once could and now a bit more.
But they still look different. There are still scars. There is still the mental “uh-ohs” that go off when a situation is similar to what happened.
If it was not for the atrophy, I would not have healed properly. I would have rushed coming back. I would have over extended myself.
Maybe out of guilt that I should be doing something.
Maybe out of a deep desire to participate.
Maybe due to me basing my self worth on what I do and not who I am.
I wouldn’t have healed properly, and may have done more damage.
Atrophy, although it was hard, was part of the process.

In situations of emotions and spiritual trauma, I think we atrophy.

We are shocked, stricken, broken.
What once came so easy, now seems so difficult.
You desire to do what you used to be able to do.
Sometimes for the wrong reasons.
Because I try to earn approval or forgiveness.
Because I based my self worth on what I do for God and not who I am in Christ.
Because I don’t want to admit it hurts this bad.
Because I am lonely.
Yet if we try to go back to soon, we may actually do damage.

We must be careful to not portray an unrealistic, unrelatable view of faith and of God.
Are we not made in His image?
Did he not weep?
Did he not mourn?
Did he not struggle?
If the answer is yes, then why should we skip over this process and deem it ungodly or not healthy?

It takes work.
Reading the Bible is still hard.
I’m not really sure why.
It seems like steak when all I can eat is mashed potatoes.
I like steak.
I want to eat it.
I will soon.
Right now, I have to be willing to eat where God has me.
I have to be willing to deal with the reality of my faith.
That it has been shaken.
That it is healing.
That it is in process.

There will be scars.
There will be times where I will be apprehensive due to the pain of the past.
Yet We will walk once again.

It is in moments like these that my amazing wife’s words echo in my ears.
The Holy Spirit is our counselor.
Counselors don’t solve your problems and spare you.
They walk with you through them, pointing out areas in need of healing and growth.
They bind up the broken hearted.
They give rest to the weary.

I am in process.
My faith looks different.
But now I understand those whose faith may have atrophied.
It is hard.
It is exhausting.
But there is hope.
We have a Counselor.
We just need to take the next step.
One day we will run again.
To places we would have never dreamed,
Experiencing love we could have never imagined.

But until then, this is my prayer for you.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May the Lord cause His face to shine upon you
And give you peace.