Rehabilitation God’s Way
Rehabilitation (noun): 1 – The action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness.
The last six months of my life have centered on physical rehabilitation.
On July 17, 2018 I checked in to Kaiser Westside Hospital for a right total knee replacement. I’ve been challenged with degenerative arthritis for over ten years, and my right knee was now completely bone on bone. My quality of life suffered as I had to be conscious of every movement.
Pain of any kind over long periods wears you down emotionally and physically. Chronic pain is exhausting. Out of options, and out of patience, I asked the Lord what I should do. He gave me peace in my spirit that it was time for surgery. I went in to see my Orthopedic Doctor and told him “I’m ready!”
I had NO idea what I had signed up for.
When you’ve experienced long term pain, you simply want relief. In the weeks before surgery, my excitement for a new knee grew. I hoped that in six weeks I could return to Zumba class and to walk without feeling pain. I romanticized what post-knee replacement life would be. I skimmed over the mountain of material they sent home with me and paid little attention to the section about post-surgery rehab.
I was like “Let’s just get this party started!”
Well the “party” did indeed start on July 17th, and I quickly hit a brick wall of reality. I had begun a journey I was mentally, emotionally and quite honestly, spiritually unprepared for.
Via Dolorosa: The way of grief, or the way of suffering.
Never in my life had I experienced pain like I felt after surgery. In fact, I had to stay an extra day just so they could get my pain level down. I began to weep and cry out to Jesus. “Lord, what is happening? Why is this happening?” It was one of MANY such conversations with Him.
On the third day I came home. Surgery was over. The period of rehabilitation had begun. What I thought would be a blissful jaunt toward freedom quickly turned into my own personal Via Dolorosa: my way of suffering.
While nothing can compare to the brutality of our Lord’s suffering, in a smaller way I was walking this road. My right leg, covered with deep purple bruises, looked as if it had been beaten with a baseball bat. I was in excruciating pain around the clock. The pain brought depression and isolation. It was four weeks before I had a solid night’s sleep. I lost my appetite. I thought I would never survive.
But I literally felt the prayers of people who the Lord alerted to pray for me. My husband covered me in love and care. I had visits by loving friends who would pray for me. And in the stillness of the middle of the night when pain was present and sleep eluded me, the Spirit of the Lord would cradle me.
I had been through tough times with the Lord, but this was a doozy.
My Via Dolorosa was not only a way of suffering for me, but it was a way of grief. I grieved a bargain I thought I had made with Him. “Lord, I thought this was going to be easier!” Have you ever put words in God’s mouth? Have you ever designed your own deliverance? It’s a place of folly I assure you. I should have known this.
I got saved 27 years ago. I remember that day and feeling God’s perfect love wash over me. It was glorious, and I couldn’t imagine ever feeling anything less than blissful – just my Lord and me. But there’s a reason why God’s Word says:
“But He knows the way that I take…” (Job 23:10).
There were areas in my life that needed to be healed. I needed deliverance and freedom, so I walked with Him on mountaintops and through dark valleys. Life with the Lord hasn’t always been pretty, and on this particular road of suffering and grief, my faith would once again be tested mightily.
Did I still trust Him to walk with me?
Rehab is ACTION. And it is painful.
The second week after surgery, I officially began rehabilitation. REHAB IS HARD! During those six weeks of rehab I had many moments when I only had enough strength to say “Jesus.” I literally cried during that first session, and came very close to punching the physical therapist in her face. It was torture!
One day through tears I asked the therapist why she was doing this to me. She said “we have to break up all that scar tissue so you’ll be able to move freely.” I mistakenly thought HEALING was bliss, and rehab was passive.
Rehab was ACTIVE and it HURT! Healing occurs WHILE rehab is happening.
Again, lesson learned.
Rehabilitation is RESTORATION.
And so it is as we walk this road with Father God. When we submit our lives to the One who intimately loves us and knows us far better than we know ourselves, it is inevitable that He will take us on a road that includes a bit of rehabilitation.
Depending on your journey you may have experienced pain and trauma leaving scar tissue over your heart and emotions. Rehabilitation is the painful process of breaking through those areas so that we can once again experience freedom in those very places.
Working through the pain is about RESTORATION.
Rehabilitation (noun): 1.1 – The action of restoring someone to former privileges or reputation after a period of disfavor
Hebrews 12:2 says “…For the joy set before him he endured the cross…”
As Jesus sweated drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. As He walked his Via Dolorosa. As He climbed Golgotha’s hill, there was a joy that He could see just beyond the suffering. It was our restoration to a place of dominion and righteousness with the Father and a loving relationship with Him that would last into infinity. For that cause He gladly endured pain and shame. His breaking was our making.
So if He has to lovingly break us to restore us, then He will.
Rehabilitation (noun) 1.2 – The action of restoring something that has been damaged to its former condition.
I’m six months post surgery and I’m still in the process of rehabilitation. The pain is less, but I wait patiently for a a restored full range of motion. I now know it takes a year to fully recover. It is step by step. I’m confident that greater mobility is coming.
I know for SURE that the Lord never left me.
He walks close with me still. My journey of 27 years with Him tells me this: Restoration is coming.
Lisa Saunders is a Prophetic Minister, Teacher, and Worshiper from Portland, Oregon. Her heart is to create opportunities for all people, especially God’s precious daughters, to encounter the power of God. Lisa is the author of the prophetic devotional “The JoyFull Journey – a devotional for time away with the Shepherd” and is the President of Selah Retreats & Travel, a Christian travel company offering vacations and retreats for God-Centered travelers.