Brokenness Isn’t An Ending

Everyone asks when they hear about the injury, “How did you do that?” I have a torn rotator cuff — the supraspinatus tendon and a labral tear. I’ve learned more about shoulder anatomy as a result. But I don’t have a single answer to the question. Several falls, the most recent in November while cross-country skiing, three months of grocery deliveries, and in February I did a rotator-cuff stretch and something gave. The pain that night was so intense, I cried out. An MRI confirmed the tears. I spoke with a surgeon, then with a naturopathic doctor, and began PRP (Platelette Rich Plasma) therapy with him on May 24th.

PRP therapy began to be developed in the 1970s and has been used across many fields of medicine since the 1990s. My doctor took my blood, spun out the platelets and plasma, then re-injected the PRP into four areas of my injured shoulder. The first five days after that treatment, I was sore as I healed from the four puncture wounds, but on the sixth day the shoulder began to feel better. I’ve had to be careful, keeping movements simple, but there’s been slow improvement.

Then, Friday morning, I was outside at around 530 am watering our plants and our neighbor stepped outside as well. Kris had had surgery that same week, and I hadn’t seen her since. It was great to see her walking around. She cannot do much yet, having had a shoulder repair surgery in March, and a diverticulitis surgery June 1st. She asked, “Could you help me move my tulips back to the garage?” “Sure!”

The pot of tulip bulbs was not very big. As I bent, I remembered my shoulder, so sought to lean the pot onto my left arm. This seemed to work. Got it moved. Then helped her with some weeding. However, my shoulder ached. On Saturday, I tried one of the exercises the doctor had recommended, the pain was intense, so I stopped.

Saturday night, I awoke after 90 minutes of sleep in excruciating pain. I had moved my arm somehow while sleeping. With the throbbing pain, I caught my breath and bit my lip. I got an ice pack, took some of my pain pills, but it hurt more. I slept lightly, and twice more a movement awoke me. Having slept sparsely, I got up at 4 a.m.

I stayed home from church, and ran the zoom portion of the service from my computer. The focus passage was from 2 Corinthians:

For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh…

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

Therefore, we do not lose heart. … For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at things which are seen, but at things which are not seen.”

2 Corinthians 4: 11,15-16, and 17-18a

As Karen brought the message, I was riveted. Beginning with Paul’s world, she brought word to the way God uses suffering. She spoke of this:

“…being subjected to suffering that we might overflow with thanksgiving.”

The phrase “subjected to suffering” stood up in my hearing as my shoulder throbbed. She asked “What might the Spirit of God be at work on within my spirit through this season of physical suffering?”

How might this season, this painful season be about inner transformation — to one day bring forth that eternal weight of glory? It changed my singular prayer “Lord, work healing in my shoulder,” to this: “As you are healing my shoulder, change my spirit through this season of suffering?”

Sometimes it is easier to focus upon losses than gains as a result of pain. It can feel discouraging. So, it helped my spirit immensely to be taken back to this great passage about how God uses tough stuff to bring longterm change and glory. It reminded me of how God worked the same with so many characters in scripture — Moses’ 40-year exile, Joseph’s 13 years as a slave, David’s long flight from Saul, Daniel’s 70 years in Babylon. In all, God used all kinds of situations to work on the heart and spirit. And in consequence, used each of these characters extraordinarily.

Brokenness isn’t an ending. It’s a stepping stone to beauty.

After the ice storm this winter, one of our clay pots began to chip apart as trapped water froze. Karen and I talked about throwing away the rose in the pot and discarding the pot, but then the rose began to blossom in the midst of brokenness, so we left it. Karen took the shards which had broken off and created a piece of art.

A huge section broke from a second pot, so Karen took it and replanted it as a terraced garden.

Brokenness isn’t an ending. It’s a stepping stone to beauty.

Friends, I’ve heard from many the trials you are facing: loss, grief, heartache, injury, isolation, loneliness, deep hurt, soul pain, to name a few. I’m praying for you. Thank you for praying for me. I’m asking God that we all attain growth through suffering. Indeed, may God take loss and death and heartache and make of it a yet unseen glorious beauty.

Sunday, we ended with this classic Getty hymn. Try singing the words to the tune Londonderry Air or click the link below and go to the YouTube.

What grace is mine that He who dwells in endless light

Called through the night to find my distant soul

And from his scars poured mercy that would plead for me

That I might live and in his name be known

So I will go wherever He is calling me

I lose my life to find my life in Him

I give my all to gain the hope that never dies

I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him

“What Grace Is Mine” Lyrics by Kristyn Getty, 2009, arr, ics.                           TUNE: Londonderry Air

May Light shine in the darkness and hope in your hearts.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. cesie scheuermann says:

    Brian…

    > May Light shine in the darkness and hope in your hearts. …and may you experience healing in your shoulder!

    – Cesie

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear friend! God loves process and I’m embracing it! Blessings on you! Thanks for prayers!

      Like

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