Day by day, week by week, month after month, year after year. Time passes, we grow older, and somewhere along the line we begin the journey of repairing and replacing body parts!! To some of you who haven’t reached this particular stage of life, undergoing such drastic procedures may horrify you! But, not to worry…the day will come when you, too, will find new joints and part repairs to be a great blessing!
You may be thinking, “Why is she talking about replacing joints and body parts?” Let me explain. I recently underwent my second total knee replacement. While definitely not fun, this experience has definitely been a growing time for me. I’ve been stretched in many areas, learning to lean on the Lord because my husband is no longer here to wait on Princess Sheryl! My kids and wonderful friends and neighbors took turns staying here with me, driving me where I needed to be and helping me with Louie! Hmmm…I couldn’t walk the dog! I talked with the Lord a lot during those long night hours when I wasn’t able to sleep, sometimes simply admitting that I wasn’t going to make it through this without His help.
In light of all that, I’ve been reflecting on the whole idea of exchanging and replacing things. It’s amazing to me that I can walk into an orthopedic hospital and trade in my old knee for a new one! It didn’t take much longer than returning an unwanted purchase to Kohls!! I’ve come to see that living in a period of history and in a country where this is possible is truly a great blessing from God. In a couple of months, I’m good as new and can continue with ministry and serving wherever God calls me. I may slow down a little but am not completely halted.
This has led me to think about what God provides for us in terms of exchanges. When we bring old things to Him, what does He give us as “replacement parts”? The very first thing God gives us is found in II Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Just think of it! A whole new life for the old one we traded in! In place of the death that comes to each of us as a result of sin, He gives us eternal life!
Another replacement God gives us has to do with our heart — not our physical heart, but that spiritual place where He dwells. Ezekiel 36:26 says, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
I don’t know about anyone else, but when my husband died, there was a period of time where my heart felt like it was made of stone. The only way to survive the devastating loss was to feel nothing. This is a pretty normal grief response; otherwise, the pain of loss would simply be too overwhelming. God understands this, as He created us to experience eternal life – never to experience death!
But eventually there comes a time when He whispers to us that we have been long enough in this season of feeling nothing, and that He has something more for us. He begins to blow across the strings of our hearts with the breath of His Spirit. Much like the beautiful music of a harp, something begins to stir once again in our emotions. His eternal promises begin to play new and beautiful music in the deep places of our heart. At first, we only hear a note or two, then a chord, then the whisper of a melody. Can music truly be returning to my spirit? Can I really feel joy again? Listen to His promises…. read them out loud to yourself!
“Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together,
For I will turn their mourning into joy
And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,” Psalm 30:11
“Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” John 16:20
Just look at the list! Mourning turned into joy, comfort and joy instead of sorrow, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, clothed in praise instead of heaviness, dancing, gladness, and Jesus Himself saying my grief will be turned into joy!! I ask myself if this is truly possible? Could it be as easy as having a knee replaced? The answer is “Yes” with a little hard work and personal therapy time with Jesus! Having my knee replaced was initially easy, but after all the anesthetics wore off, the hard work of rehab began. God is so good to allow our hearts a period of numbness after the trauma of losing a spouse, but eventually the nerves begin to revive, and the hard work of recovery begins. As the nerves begin to restore in my knee, I get what is called “zingers”! Unfortunately, my heart also sometimes feels “zingers”, but that’s a good sign that healing is happening.
Allow God to refresh, restore, rehab, and replace what has died and been deadened in your heart. His promises are true, and your grief will be turned into joy again! The Great Replacement is a sure promise from God!
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