New power

Pull yourself together, get up, fix the crown, move on? Is it that simple?

Service,, , Kreuzkirche Leichlingen

automatically translated


Most people know what happened to me last month. It started with minor complaints and then I went to see my urologist in the summer of last year.

After several rather unpleasant examinations, he told me that I needed prostate surgery.

Men are accused of being rather prudish when it comes to visiting the doctor.

Women go to the doctor and men wait until the doctor comes.

Personally, I go for regular check-ups, but I was a bit scared about the prostate operation. I put it off because the slight discomfort didn't go away either, and then I made an appointment for the operation in January and went through with it in February.

Problems alone

Somehow you don't want to talk about some illnesses. I only told people at work that I was having surgery, not what kind. I did tell individuals who asked about it. I didn't tell everyone in the community either, but there's really no point in being secretive about it.

The only case where secrecy might make sense is if you have a rather unfriendly employer and there is a danger that he might use your illness against you. But I personally don't fear that.

So in the community or among friends, such secrecy is probably not so good.

We find, for example, in Galatians 6:2; NEÜ

2 Help one another to bear the burdens. In this way you fulfil the law of Christ.

To do this, of course, you have to tell what burdens you are carrying. Perhaps the word "burdens" is too pious. In another translation it says (NL):

2 Help one another with your difficulties and problems, so fulfilling the law we have from Christ.

It is also dangerous if you keep everything to yourself, because then you can fall into the trap of thinking that you alone have these problems and everyone else is fine. Maybe you are also afraid of people who are very quick to give you good advice.

But it helps if you realise that others also have problems and difficulties. Of course, this also applies to non-physical stories, such as depression or crises. The misconception that you are completely alone with your problem and that no one can or wants to understand it can really get you down.

I also find the verse after this interesting in this context. I'll take a rather literal translation (Galatians 6:3; ELB):

For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

This "I am something" or "I am someone" has the same multiple meaning in ancient Greek as in German. On the one hand, it means only neutrally "something" or "someone", on the other hand, it can also be used, as here in the verse, for something special or someone special.

In the context of the verse before, it can mean, on the one hand, I don't need to help others with their burdens, or I don't need to share my burdens with others. I can handle everything myself.

Both ways of thinking are wrong, of course.

What remains?

Then came the operation. The operation itself was routine, but I was faced with the choice of either having a spinal anaesthetic, where you are anaesthetised from the back down and thus paralysed, or a general anaesthetic.

With a general anaesthetic there is a tiny residual risk of not waking up at all and with a spinal anaesthetic there is a tiny residual risk of remaining paraplegic. But these risks are probably lower than having a car accident on the way to the hospital. I did a search for figures, but found nothing.

I decided to have the spinal anaesthesia, especially as I was then able to watch the operation, which was an interesting experience. The paralysis was also an interesting experience, especially as the legs remembered the last position before the anaesthetic as a feeling, and when it was then in a different position, it still felt like it did at the beginning of the paralysis.

The urologist then scraped out my prostate and I watched on a monitor and talked to him while he did it. He explained a few things to me and answered my questions. That was quite interesting. I would have liked to have had a video of it, but that wouldn't have been possible because I had forgotten to ask beforehand.

And then you hope that everything will be fine after the operation. Unfortunately, I had a complication on the Tuesday after because something had closed up down there. It really hurt, and that's why I personally introduced the category "unpleasant", because pain is now reserved for the experience of this complication day. My wife drove me to the hospital and then I got another catheter for a week.

I'm in good spirits, but not out of the woods yet, and the wound is still healing.

What if complaints remain?

In the Bible we find the example of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9:

7 Yes, I have had extraordinary revelations. But God has put a thorn in my flesh so that I won't get carried away. An angel of Satan is allowed to beat me with fists so that I won't become arrogant. 8 Three times I begged the Lord to deliver me from it. 9 But he said to me, "My grace must be sufficient for you, for my power is just mighty in the weak." Now I am even proud of my weakness because that is how the power of Christ rests on me.

Other translations write "stake in the flesh" or "tormenting suffering". It must have been something physical and he did not get rid of it. Many Bible commentators suspect an eye complaint and conclude that from Galatians 6:11; NL:

See with what large letters I write these concluding words to you in my own handwriting.

This is of course possible, but somehow also speculation. However, Paul was dependent on others. There were no glasses in those days and he had to travel with people who helped him and who wrote for him. This trip of "I can do it all by myself" was not possible for him. He was forced to work in a team.

I am sure that the text with the thorn in the flesh describes Paul's personal experience.

Of course, one does not have to accept complaints across the board, but can pray about them and of course also go to the doctor and get treatment. But let us not deceive ourselves, not everything is healed by God across the board, whether it is ailments caused by illness or also ailments caused by age. We don't dance through life without ailments until we are 90. There are also days that one does not like, as it says so strikingly in Ecclesiastes 12:1 about old age.

But whatever our personal situation is, we should ask God that we personally can make our peace with it, whatever our complaints are. This is how Paul experienced it.

New strength

But one does not have to stop at the complaints.

A passage from Isaiah 40 came to my mind on this subject. In this chapter, the greatness of God is first described and this description ends in the following statement (Isaiah 40:28, NL):

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is an everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He does not grow weary or tired. His mind is unfathomable.

And then comes the promise in Isaiah 40:29-31; NL I remembered:

29 He gives new strength to the weary; he gives abundant strength to the powerless. 30 It may be that even young people grow faint and weary, and young men collapse completely, 31 but those who wait on the LORD gain new strength. They soar upwards like eagles. They run fast without tiring. They walk and do not grow weary.

This text is a promise for a very personal person.

I am sure it is not meant to be literally universal, because the statement "You run fast without tiring" does not correspond to my experience in school days, where I was always last in races, whether short or long distance, except for one time. I always got tired pretty quickly when running and I think that's still the case today. I just don't run so much anymore, after all I have a driving licence ;-)

We can't fly like eagles either, but nevertheless this Bible text is true.

Let's look at it a little closer. Apparently, exhaustion and lack of strength can affect anyone, even young men, who can be seen as a symbol of human strength. As a young man, I shovelled clay all around our house when we were waterproofing our cellar. I wouldn't be able to do that to the same extent today.

But I don't think it's primarily about physical strength. And it's not about pushing yourself beyond your limits either. If you are physically exhausted or even if you have a burnout, for example, then you have to recover. Then you have to take a break and you also have to make changes in your life so that you don't keep overtaxing yourself.

That seems obvious to me, but you have to realise this for yourself every now and then.

How should one now understand this Bible text? Of course, there is a danger here that you will end up on the platitude track, along the lines of: "You only have to trust in God enough, then everything will work out and you will always have power". This can even lead to the exhausted being accused of not believing enough. We don't want to go in that direction. Job's friends have already shown us that this is the wrong way to think.

Nevertheless, this Bible text is very important.

To begin with, in verse 28 we can see that God never gets tired or weary, and he wants to give this strength to the weary and powerless. There are a few points that struck me here:

  1. It is not about continuous power. But there will always be phases of running and standing, of acting and waiting.
  2. Otherwise, you would only have to understand and believe all this once and you would power through like a Duracell bunny until the end of your life battery.
  3. Of course, it
  4. has
  5. to
  6. do with
  7. what God wants for a person.
    Those who wait on the Lord gain new strength.\end">bible"> Sometimes you have to wait to understand what God wants.
  8. And sometimes you also have to wait for his strength.
  9. The image of the eagle can also mean that God wants to let us share a bit of his perspective from above, so that we don't just carry on with the old with new strength, but can recognise new paths and perspectives that we can then follow with new strength.

  10. Of course, we also have to be aware again and again of where we stand in God's way with our entrenched thinking
  11. .
  12. We heard earlier that it is important to share one's problems with others. Paul had to learn that he was dependent on other people because of his physical infirmity.
  13. If we as lone fighters believe that we can somehow manage everything, then we will certainly run out of strength at some point, because according to the Bible, that is not the right way for a Christian



I summarise.