I recently had surgery. Nothing major. Just needed some repair work. No reconstruction of my outward physical appearance. Not a face lift. In fact, I referred to it as a bottom lift.
Surgery was a breeze, but the recovery took me by surprise. Not that I was in more pain than expected. Quite the contrary. Surgery had been less invasive than anticipated; therefore, I felt little pain afterwards.
There can be a problem with feeling too good after a surgical procedure. Especially after been instructed, no matter how good I feel, not to lift anything more than 10 lbs for 4 weeks, along with no exercise, other than a leisurely walking the dog for a stop-and-sniff.
Even though I was experiencing very little discomfort, there was an abundance of stitches holding that repair work in place. Getting plenty of rest and just hanging around was part of the recovery process.
Sometimes keeping the body quiet does more than aid in just the physical healing. What about the numerous commands throughout the Bible to Be Still. Aren’t those to help restore our souls? Allow our hearts to be softened? To prepare us to hear from God and feel His presence?
Just a few days after surgery, my husband and I attended a lovely lakeside, pot-luck dinner with a small group of friends. The main entrée was grilled hanger steak.
Just might have been the most tender, perfectly grilled piece of meat I had ever eaten!
However, having never before eaten hanger steak, and thinking it was simply another term for flank steak or skirt steak, I asked Siri for further explanation;
The hanger steak is a supportive muscle, rather than active muscle, so it is more tender than a muscle the animal uses a lot, such as a leg. It helps support the diaphragm and hangs independently (as opposed to being connected to a bone) between the rib and the loin. Hence the name “Hanger” steak. The muscles that yield flank and skirt steaks are located roughly in the same area as the hanger and are also known for their prominent beefy flavor.
I had to laugh…the hanger steak just hangs around, with no real purpose? Other than to be an exceptionally tender piece of meat when properly prepared?
Was God working on my tenderheartedness while I just hung around following surgery? Preparing me for His specific purpose?
On the day after our pot-luck, I began to feel anxious about what to do with myself during the following weeks. The calendar was basically cleared because I had prepared for some rather invasive surgery. Not that I was disappointed in the ease of the procedure, I simply wanted to make the best use of the 4-week recovery time.
The lack of pain was such an unexpected gift. What did God have in mind?
God was already on it. That very day I received a text from a young lady I had mentored off and on for about 6 years. The last time we met, there was a crisis in her marriage (of only 3 years). With the text came the news that her husband had moved out. Could I please meet ASAP?
Another text quickly followed from a young mother God placed in my path three years ago. When we first met she and her husband of 15 years were also having marital issues. Now, she is living a life she never expected or wanted… a single mom of three young children, trying to keep her head and heart above water, with her ex already remarried and settling in with his new family. Would I have some time to spend with her? Real soon?
Oh, God didn’t stop by filling Monday and Tuesday evenings on my calendar for the week following surgery. He arranged for me to meet with other friends both Wednesday and Thursday, morning and evening.
Women who just desired a tender heart to listen to the cries of their own hearts and offer some much-needed love and encouragement. Women who had experienced the same painful trials I experienced in my own life. After God has carried me through that pain, I can be a testimony to the love and mercy our Father provides to those who love Him. Who earnestly seek Him with all their hearts. Who know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
In the stillness of just hanging around I heard His words…
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind. (1 Peter 3:8)
…so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the same comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Tenderheartedness…we are commanded to have it and pursue it. Perhaps inactivity…just hanging around and being still… is just what I needed for my Father to prepare my heart. His way of softening my heart to the needs of these women. To feel His presence in our gatherings. Sense His guidance in our conversations. To be used for His glory and His purpose.
Being still every day is part of God’s plan for His children in order to draw closer to Him and build a stronger relationship. Being in His word. Praying. Seeking. But sometimes He will use a silly analogy to get out attention. To remind us of His perfect orchestration of every event in our lives.
Even when we are just hanging around. Asking what’s next?
And wondering what in the world is a hanger steak?
Just be still. Please don’t miss what God is doing in your life. Right this minute!