A lesson from my broken toe: Trust the expert

Toe.jpgI broke my toe on the last day of my vacation.  I came back to the beach house to begin cleaning and doing the loads of laundry that needed to get started when I hit a small wooden stool with my baby toe.  As I looked down, the small toe on my left foot was pointing West!  Not good. I thought I must have dislocated the toe and having done that previously on the other foot, I tried to pull the toe back into the joint.  No luck – only searing pain.  Then I allowed my adult son to try his hand at getting the errant digit back into line.  I bit down hard while he tugged and pulled.  Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore.  My husband and I decided that I was going to require a visit to the Emergency Department at the local hospital.

When we arrived, the waiting room was packed.  I overheard a very irate wife of an elderly man blow her steam off at a nurse telling her that they had been waiting for over two hours to be seen.  UGH. This was NOT how I wanted to spend my last evening of vacation.  My son was returning to his home in another state the next day and every minute with him and his lovely fiancée was precious. The thought of wasting hours watching CNN in the waiting room was making my head pop off.  I felt antsier than a kindergartner sitting through a Vagner opera.

After more than THREE hours, I was finally called back, put on a stretcher and placed in the hallway as there were no rooms available.  I was convinced that the toe was dislocated as it presented the same way that my other toe did when it was out of joint; so I came up with a plan that was going to get me through this hospital procedure as quickly as possible.  As soon as the doctor came up to the stretcher, I told him that I was going to be his fastest patient of the night.  I had already diagnosed myself as having a dislocated toe and if he would just shoot it up with Novocain and yank it back into place, I could get on with the rest of my evening with my family.

He looked at me warily, poked and prodded a little and then said he wanted to order an X-ray.  I told him that I really didn’t want an X-ray as it would only prolong my time at the hospital and, after all, I knew what the problem was.  He said that he didn’t agree.  He thought the toe looked broken and wanted to make sure before he proceeded any further.  I was so mad about a further delay that I decided humor was the only way I wasn’t going to say something I would regret.

So I said, “I propose a bet.  If I’m right and this toe is dislocated, what do I get?”  Initially, he offered me a cup of hospital coffee, but I declined and upped the ante.  I said that if he was wrong and I was right, he owed me an ice cream, since that was what I was missing with my family being in the hospital all evening. We shook on it and off I went to X-Ray.

30 minutes later, once I had been returned to my spot in the hallway, the doctor came down the hallway with a smirk on his face.  He said to me, “I’m allergic to nuts so when you get my ice cream, make sure that there aren’t any nuts in it.” AGH!!! You’re kidding me! My foot is really broken?!  I couldn’t believe it.  But he had the X-rays to prove that his medical training was just a little more reliable than my one time experience with a dislocated toe.

So what’s the lesson to be applied here? Well, let me ask you this: how many times do you find yourself arguing with God about something He has asked you to do?  How many times do you head off on your own only to find out that your “sense of what was best for you” was totally wrong?

I can think of a few things that would not be a lot of fun to go through that I know would reap benefits if I would just be obedient and do them.  I can think of some areas where the Lord has been prompting me to make changes and yet I can find lots of other “diagnoses” for the problems and try to rush myself through the process. After all, who wants to hear, “This is the problem, and the solution is going to take a while.”? Not me!

Maybe you’re like me and you want to move through every process as quickly as possible and with as little inconvenience and discomfort as possible.  But the Lord knows what we need and we must learn to trust His expertise as God more than our VERY limited understanding of what we think is best for us.

Now you:

  • Can you think of some areas where the Lord is prompting you to make changes and yet you are trying other ways to get to the destination?
  • Have you been like me, when I argued with the doctor and told him what was wrong with me only to find out that I was completely incorrect? Have you ever done that with God? How about with other people?
  • If you keep a journal, I encourage you write down a short bullet list of three things that you know God has been dealing with you about and ask His help to be obedient and submit to the process.  You will be amazed at how faithful He is without criticizing you for your stubbornness!

The Bible says in Ephesians 6:1

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

If God thinks that it’s important for earthly children to learn to be obedient to their parents who are flawed and imperfect, then how much more vital is it for us to learn obedience to the God Who is outside of time, All-wise and Omniscient? Good grief! I think we can trust Him; so let’s make a decision today to record those items and keep them in prayer as we start to see the Lord help us make the changes.  After all, the promise that all will go well with us and that we will enjoy long life on earth is certainly one worth chasing after! May God bless you.

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