I have a bad back.
Not because I’m entering middle middle age and the spine has increasing problems with the cantilever effect of a growing paunch, but because of the effect of gravity in a slow tight bend and a long walk home pushing a non-functioning motorcycle.
So here’s the confession: I had a spell of mis-spent later youth on motorbikes.
There was a day in South East London when I came off a bike I loved too much, pushed it several miles home, got stopped by a full-blown Hell’s Angel on a Harley in full club colours who was an extremely nice bloke and fixed it up about 250 yards from home so that I could ride the last little bit with the pride and joy restored.
But one day later, bending down to lift an empty cardboard box … oh dear.
I couldn’t move and spent a fortnight on my back on the floor.
And from time to time … mebbe several nights a week … I still spend the night on the floor to keep the separate little bits of back in their places.
It takes the hard discipline of the hard sleeping conditions to tone the muscles and ligaments and stretch the spine out into health and strength.
And it seems that there are times too when harder conditions and tougher times are God’s plan for His middle-aged servant. Just to stretch out the bits into their proper places. Just to tone the supporting muscles and ligaments that hold a healthy spiritual life together, with everything healthily in its place.
And the Bible says as much. Check Hebrews 12:5-13 …
“… you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?
8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees!
13 Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
I really hope you are not having tough times … I really do! (And if you want something prayed for then PLEASE let me know …)
But if we are going through it and the times feel quite tough, might it be worth a word with ‘the Boss’ just to see that we’re getting out of tough times absolutely everything that we could?
(Just a thought …)