There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.” – Romans 8:1-3
It’s been a few days shy of three months since Rebekah woke up from surgery wearing her neck brace, and we started to wrestle with the challenges of a difficult recovery. During that time the brace – Rebekah named it “Betty” – has been a feature pretty much twenty-four seven. Rebekah and Betty developed this love-hate relationship; she needed Betty, but Betty was as much committed to irritation and slow strangulation as she was healing.
“Well what did you expect?” the surgeon said in a line I’m sure I’ve shared before; “After all, I did slit your throat and then break your neck. This is going to take some time.”
Well yesterday, in a kind of Romans 8:1-3 moment, Rebekah was released from the law of Betty Brace. She is no longer required to wear Betty 24-7: “You will know when you need your brace,” the surgeon said; “the healing will make it clear.”
Healing and The Law:
Wow. What a moment of beautiful relief! It’s not the bracing that imposes itself on Rebekah’s healing anymore, but the healing itself. She’s not throwing Betty away – much as she’d enjoy a few moments in the back garden with Betty, some lighter fluid, and a couple of matches – because she knows there will be moments (though few and far between) when the rigidity of “the law” will be necessary in order to facilitate continued healing.
Now this is nowhere near a perfect metaphor, nor an exact match by any means, but this whole Betty Brace situation has caused me to think about the relationship between my ongoing healing as a disciple of Jesus… and the important role the structure of religious practice plays in providing a directive framework where my relationship with Jesus can grow.
The structure of religious practice plays an important role in providing a directive framework where my relationship with Jesus can grow.
I am free in Christ Jesus! But I am free not for my own selfish desires, I am free to enter into the kind of relationship with God we were all created to enjoy. My ongoing healing as a redeemed person is going to make it clear – if I’m paying attention – when and where I need to put the brace back on.
Why? Because complete healing takes faithfulness, and time, and practice, and patience, and listening, and commitment, and regeneration, and – yes – sometimes a directive framework.
So Rebekah is driving again – for the first time since the pain stopped her sometime in September. And we are so very grateful. Grateful for healing, yes, but grateful for Betty Brace too.
In love, and because of love – DEREK