Today I am feeling more positive about myself than I have for quite a few weeks. On Sunday Feb 12th I went over on my right ankle worse than I have for over 10 years. I could hardly walk and was deeply upset by how much this is limiting me. On top of that in the last week I got a throat infection losing my voice on Monday which has gradually been returning since then. In the previous week I was finding it hard to sleep and last Saturday night, coincidentally having twisted my ankle again, I don’t think I slept at all. During Saturday I had also had a migraine which started Friday night as a result of being over tired. I am sure that this is related to the fact that I have effectively been stuck in the house since returning from holiday (5 weeks now). The whole experience has been difficult.
I was praying constantly through this. Last Sunday, having been awake overnight, I was praying for peace to be sustained through the day. I attended a baptism in the morning and then went to a celebration at someone’s house. In the evening, having been home just over 2 hours, I went to The Gathering which was an amazing experience – and one I need to write up here. I did not feel tired, but I did lose my voice in the afternoon into the evening and for the rest of the following day. On Tuesday morning the doctor confirmed I had a throat infection and I have taken sick leave since then. As I write I am feeling better but not well enough to return to work yet.
All of this followed nearly two years of ankle problems the worst they have ever been. In February 2017 I had an operation on my ankle and after physio things seemed better. I then started getting pain down the right hand side of my foot which has meant I have had a permanent limp. So, going over on my ankle in February this year was the last straw.
It’s not been a great few weeks for my health.
This morning I woke with the usual dryness and pain in my throat but after some warm drinks I was (and am) definitely on the mend . I still have the throat infection but it’s not as sore, my voice continues to improve and I have more energy – though not enough for the usual work onslaught!
However, I also went to see the Podiatrist that had been recommended to look into orthotics (shoe inserts). Having given her my history she said she was fully expecting to see feet like mine (short and wide with a high instep). As well as moving things forward for “made to measure shoe inserts” she told me about something called the Richie Brace. It is designed not only to provide the support that would prevent me going over on my ankle, but also to allow my ankle to strengthen the more I use it – unlike the usual ankle support. In other words I will be able to get to the point where I can go walking in the Lake District with my wife.
It has given me new hope. I am not only feeling better today but also more positive than I have for weeks. There is a way forward. It’s a journey and I may be only at the beginning but I now have hope that, like a map, shows the way and the end.
I knew it was hope that had changed my outlook. And as hope is such an important word in the Christian faith it made me think. The substantial event (or promise) was hearing about the difference the Richie Brace could make. It is a credible hope. It’s not outside of my own experience or knowledge – it simply makes sense. Therefore, I can trust that over time this is going to make a huge difference.
So, what is it that makes our christian hope have substance? That is the question that next came to mind. As I have been thinking about that I have been reminded of some of the times God has clearly moved in my life and made a difference – in other words God has been adding deposits of hope in my bank account of faith. I do have to go back to look at those deposits from time to time and then remind myself of His character that I know through both experience and what I read in the bible. I can then look at His promises and look back on His faithfulness and know that the same faithfulness will then deliver on those promises.
Testimony is important. Our own testimony can serve to remind us of what God has done and point to what He will do. In addition the testimony of others can do the same. We need to value testimony much more.