In June, rushing across a gravel parking lot in Vancouver, I twisted my ankle. What followed was a tedious cycle of painful days, during which I’d take Advil and apply ice to the ankle, and then days of improvement when I was sure I was getting better – until I stepped wrong and the cycle began again. A colleague sent me to a kinesiologist whose treatments helped – for a while. But when I got home, I was still limping and Mark insisted I go to the doctor. This week, I saw an ankle specialist who diagnosed a stress fracture in my ankle, accompanied by tendonitis. I’m in an orthopedic boot for two weeks to see if that allows the tendonitis to subside.

As I contemplated my boot the other night, I wondered how long I’d have limped along if Mark hadn’t intervened, and how much more damage I’d have caused. I also wondered how often we try to ignore stress fractures in our souls, wounds that may not be apparent to others but hurt us deeply. How often do we hope to wait out the pain, rather than dealing with it? The cycle of anger, grief, and pain becomes familiar. We medicate ourselves with activity, anger, or drugs. And when we think we’re strong enough to examine the wound again, the pain overwhelms us and the cycle starts again.

How blessed we are then, to have brothers and sisters in faith who will guide us to the true source of healing, to the Great Physician Himself. When the plentiful stresses of the world threaten to fracture us completely, we must be bold and reach out for help, comfort, and healing. Limping along on our own not only increases our pain, it separates us from those who are willing to support us, to lend a hand or a shoulder or an ear to ease our pain. By leaning on each other, we are helped. By leaning on the Lord, we are healed.

May the Lord give us the strength to reach out to each other, that our pain may be vanquished, and we may all walk boldly and happily by His side.

“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.”

James 5:16