Thursday, August 21, 2008
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I've had days when my back felt about 20 years older than the rest of my body. Sciatica is what I think the doctor called it. I just call it "sorebacka." I'm grateful I haven't had a bout like that for several years, but I can tell you that when I wake up crooked, I feel like just staying in bed or in any comfortable position I can find. But I got some good advice. Someone said, "Go for a walk when your back is hurting." Now, let me tell you this, walking is the last thing I feel like doing, but I decided to try it. I walked around our nearby lake, and by the time I returned, the pain had basically gone away. I had to force myself to exercise, but it was exercise that actually made me feel better. Now there's a new scientific study that compared two groups of people with "sorebacka" - one that took it easy and one that exercised. The exercisers reported less pain and more mobility. Now, what you don't feel like doing when you're hurting is what will actually help you stop hurting!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Healing Power of Exercise."
Exercising to help the pain - that doesn't just work for a hurting back. It works for a hurting heart. This could be a stretch of your life that's particularly painful. You're hurting from a tragedy, a broken relationship, maybe financial struggles, medical battles, some new wounds, or some old wounds. And just like me with an aching back, you're seeking some comfort. But just like me, you might find it, not by trying to get comfortable, but by going out and exercising spiritually.
Here's the prescription. It's from our word for today from the Word of God in Proverbs 11:25. "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Now, God says something refreshing happens to your spirit when you reach out to refresh others. And that's the kind of exercise that helps a hurting heart - doing something for someone else who's in need.
Is that what you feel like doing? No way. When you're hurting, you feel like withdrawing from people, not connecting with them. You want to pretty much just focus on yourself. Our human nature says, "I'm hurting right now, so it's all about me." But that will only intensify the pain or even prolong the pain.
You can speed up your healing by doing what you do not feel like doing; getting involved with people when you feel like withdrawing from them, getting active when you feel like being inactive, charging into some ministry or helping role when you feel like retreating, looking for someone whose need you can meet instead of someone who can meet yours. The hurt you have been through will give you the sensitivity and the credentials to minister to other hurting people.
What you've been through may cause you to pull back, and maybe now you're just nursing the pain. That's what I felt like doing with my aching back. But I had to put the hurting parts to work in order to get any relief. That may be exactly where you are right now. You're not going to break out of this downer until you get busy, well in the Bible's words, "refreshing others." That's when you'll finally be refreshed.
Jesus said, "Whoever hangs onto his life will lose it." It's the person who gives his life away that will find it. So force yourself to get out of your chair or your bed and look for some people who need you. As you exercise yourself on their behalf, the healing of your own pain can finally begin.