“For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery.” — Ecclesiastes 8:6
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Recently, I’ve been following the rehab journey of one of my favorite tennis players, Dominic Thiem. An injury sidelined him more than a year ago — poor timing considering he was at his peak performance and had won a major championship the fall before. Surgery was required and then physical therapy. He tried to come back to competition, but the injury flared up again and required more rehab after that.
Finally pain-free, he was able to start competing fully earlier this spring. While he was thankful to be feeling back to his normal self again, it was also frustrating as, match after match, it took months before he finally starting seeing positive results in his play and winning matches. It’s been a humbling process, to say the least.
As a fan, observing his and other athletes’ rehab journeys in the past has made me think about how we’re all personally on some form of a rehab journey. It may be physical, or it may be mental, emotional or spiritual. On some level, each of us has places in ourselves that need healing. And, just like an athlete, there is some hard work required to reach that place of growth and recovery that is necessary.
We’re all aware of our weaknesses and flaws and broken places that need the Great Physician’s rehab plan. We see them flare up every day in the things we say and do. Just like an injury, we feel the pain and the frustration it brings, and we are reminded that we are imperfect and still on the road to wholeness. It’s a process of daily exercising and strengthening those places and following the personal rehab plan that God has set in motion for each of us.
I think of how much patience is required for this, too. Not often does a work of grace happen quickly, just like it sometimes takes an athlete weeks, if not months or years, to get back to where they once were. There are setbacks and challenges along the way and the individual, along with their team, must keep sticking to the plan. It is for the ultimate good that these tedious and sometimes discouraging steps are taking place.
Often, I find that I’m apt to forget this truth. I want to see faster progress in my life when it comes to the parts of me that are not yet restored. I grow weary of going over the same things and sometimes want to cut corners in an effort to get on to other lessons. But God will not be hurried. Just like a trusted physical therapist, He must take me through the journey step by step in order to get me where He wants me. And my comfort is in the fact that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
I know it’s hard at times, but trust the rehab process. “Let perseverance finish its work” in your life so that one day “you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).
— Katherine Singer
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