By Luke Jenness
I’ll never forget April 21, 2018. I was at a wrestling tournament and the day was progressing quite casually. The wrestling had been going just fine and I only had a couple more matches to compete in before the tournament finished. Suddenly, however, when attempting a double leg takedown against my next opponent, I heard a snap! I looked down and, to my horror, discovered that my right foot had been completely dislocated! Upon further examination, it was determined that I had broken my fibula and torn several ligaments in that leg. The healing process required surgery, rehab, and time… lots of time. During this trying stage of recovery, I faced many questions concerning God’s plan for what might possibly lie ahead in my young life. Why had God allowed such a severe injury to impede my pursuit of wrestling? Why did He allow me to go through the immense pain – both physically and mentally – that encompassed this injury? Now, nearly two years later, I can clearly see how my misfortune fit perfectly into God’s plan.
While being confined to forced rest during the late spring and summer of 2018, I had a plethora of opportunities to delve into God’s Word and prayer. I recall spending several nights in tears, praying that God would immediately heal me as Jesus Christ healed so many others during His time on earth. During each of these prayers, although God never brought the instant physical healing I desired, He brought a wholly indescribable and unsurpassed sense of peace and strength – the very strength found only in Christ. One of my favorite verses in the Bible puts this phenomenon quite simply: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NIV). During this time of trial, God showed me that there is always enough strength to overcome any situation if, and only if, we put our trust in Christ. Once I was fully healed and ready to begin wrestling again, I had a greater sense of gratitude for being able to wrestle in the first place.
My broken leg experience also taught me humility, or, in other words, to depend on others for help and support. Jesus taught much on helping others in times of trial or need. Consider the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus told in the Gospel of Luke. A man was robbed, beaten, and left to die on the side of road. A priest and a Levite passed him by without even offering this man, who was half-dead, a ride to the nearest town. Finally, the Good Samaritan came upon the dying man and had pity on him. He bandaged the man’s wounds and brought him to an inn where he would be cared for. During my time of injury, there were many “Good Samaritans” who supported, cared, and prayed for my recovery. This encouraged me to go out of my way to help several others who were suffering misfortunes after my own setback.
God works in mysterious ways, and my trial was definitely an unexpected circumstance that God used to help me grow as a Christian. I learned to have more compassion on those of us who are suffering, because, though my injury wasn’t a tragedy, I knew a certain degree of pain that comes from being separated from what we love (in my case, it was wrestling). God also revealed to me the infinite strength of Christ! I don’t credit myself for making it through those trying months, I credit it all to Jesus Christ. He was always there for me, and He always provided enough strength to get through every day. I have learned to rely on Him more so now than I did before breaking my leg. Romans 8:28 is outstanding reminder that we have an Almighty God Who knows what is best. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”