Jennifer Kahla is one of our Children’s Ministers. At a recent staff meeting we were discussing broken bones and living with casts. Her son broke both wrists in January and I broke my left forearm on February 9th. Her son and I are both still in casts…and it’s been an interesting experience for both of us.
I was sharing with the staff how my broken arm has become for me an interesting living metaphor on brokenness when Jen spoke up with some insights I found worthy of publication.
Here are Jen’s thoughts on broken bones and brokenness:
By Jennifer Kahla
Recently at church I was asked by a caring, concerned person “How is your son?” I had to respond, “Which one?” not only because I am the mother of 4 sons, but also because currently all 4 have major things going on in their lives. The one she was asking about though was the one currently with an obvious handicap. You see he broke both arms recently. It is amazing how much attention 2 arm casts will draw. But honestly, that injury will heal in a relatively short time frame and while it has been inconvenient, it isn’t life changing.
Often the harder to see–or even invisible–issues have a greater impact. I would take broken bones over depression, alcoholism, bi-polar any day. You get sympathy for things people can see–favor is given, help is volunteered. These are good things and they bless those who obviously need it, but what about those who are dealing with pain that we can’t see?
Physical pain doesn’t have to been seen to be real, yet how many of us mentally critique those we see using a handicap parking spot when they don’t look like they need it? Mental illness can even manifest physical symptoms too, but often it is not noticeable in casual conversation. The use of antidepressants in the US is 1 in 10 people, and in women ages 40-50 it is 1 in 4.
Wow. Seriously, wow.
We live in a broken, hurting world. So what are we doing to help? Are we living in community with others? So many scriptures talk about that.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Galatians 6:2 2
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 14
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[a] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
James 5:16 16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
If you are in a “Life is Good” phase, Praise God! Wear the t-shirt, be happy. You are in the place to encourage, to bless, to lend a helping hand. If you are in the “Life sucks, then you die” phase, consider opening up to fellow believers. It may not change your circumstances, but there is power in having fellow believers stand with you in prayer. There is comfort in having someone who “really knows” ask you how you are doing.
Secrets are crippling.
Many churches want to be “hospitals for the hurting,” not “country clubs for the saved,” but do we honestly act that way? And what about those who are saved and are hurting? The next time you are chatting with someone in the lobby after service, ask how they are doing and look into their eyes when they answer. You may want to follow it up with “How can I pray for you?” The answer might surprise you.