“Walk” by the Foo Fighters has been my number one most played song of the past week, because I am literally learning to walk again. For anybody who has ever had to learn to re-do something that was once so simple; something that you once too for granted, then you these lyrics describe us almost perfectly and they may even stir up some emotions within you. Grohl writes, “Learning to walk again; I believe I’ve waited long enough; where do I begin?” He continues and addresses a lyric that resonates with anybody who has had to re-learn to talk, “Learning to talk again; can’t you see I’ve waited long enough? Where do I begin?”
If you are somebody who believes you get better and prosper more through the peaks rather than in the valleys then allow me to tell you that has not been my experience. The question Grohl asks about learning to walk again, “Where do I begin?” Is a question that is honest, and humble, so when we get to a point in our lives when we beg this question then that is actually when we experience growth. I’m not suggesting Dave Grohl is writing from a Christian perspective, but I am suggesting that God’s common grace allowed him to articulate what I and so many others have gone through when we are knocked to the ground and we don’t know what to do or where to go… We realize our finitude, and like children who have no clue how to ride a bike we look to our heavenly Father and ask “Where do I begin?”
This week I took my first steps in a walking boot. It happened on Thursday at Physical Therapy, and it was quite humorous because I had no idea how to do it! The physical therapist asked if I could stand with all my weight in the boot, and I said “yea” so then she said “Try taking a few steps…” I responded, “I can do that!” Now, just think about this for a moment. I’m a 5’11 205 lb. man who has been an athlete his whole life and I have this woman telling me to simply take a few steps and I was shocked to find out I was actually able to do such a thing! My achilles rupture has humbled me, and left me with the anthem of “Learning to walk again; I believe I’ve waited long enough; where do I begin?” Well, my update in this regard is that I have been walking (with the aid of a crutch) in a walking boot, and I can feel my leg strengthening each day. I’m still a ways out from walking without the boot, but I now feel I have a useful limb once again. It has been over 2 months since my injury, so to finally be able to do some of the things I used to do, like taking the trash out earlier today, I now am doing these things with a grin on my face because I know how fortunate I am to be able to do what I once considered mundane tasks. My friend, Dave, had a horrible injury a couple of years ago and he told me after his recovery that he can never walk up the stairs the same way again, because now he thanks God after he walks up a flight of stairs; I feel I am now able to understand what my friend was talking about and I have certainly learned a deeper level of gratitude towards God for how He graciously grants His children grace, mercy, and strength.
This all has me begging the question “But what does all this mean spiritually?” It’s really amazing how God works in our hearts through regular contextual study of His Word! I had taught Hebrews 12:3-11 only 2 weeks before my achilles ruptured, and now looking back I am certain God wanted me to have that passage fresh in my mind when I went through a difficult time. Consider the context set forth in verse 3 of that passage, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Jesus did not suffer due to his own sin, and so therefore, in context this passage talks about discipline NOT brought about by a person’s own sin. The text continues in verse 5, “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My Son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” Later in the passage verse 11 has been particularly helpful, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” This passage shows us as believers that God will discipline us in this life on the basis of His love for us. A good weight training coach will push his athletes beyond their usual limits, and for a while it will hurt for these athletes, but he is a good weight trainer because he forces the issue of discipline upon his athletes and it makes them better in the long run!
When I was in the 7th grade I had a football coach who made me do “hit-it’s” (also called Up-downs) over and over and over and over again. I did NOT at all understand the point of us doing these hit-its. I thought it was unnecessary discipline, and so I was accusing my coach of arbitrarily causing suffering. Well, my team did very well that season, and after we won our division I looked back on the season and saw those “hit-its” in an entirely different light, and I saw that Coach made us do thousands of these exercises for a good purpose. My achilles tear is a form of discipline God has allowed in my life so that I will be able to look back on all that has and is going on and say “God had a purpose for that happening to me. I didn’t see it at the time, and it certainly did hurt but God trained me through suffering.”
It’s a bit ironic that Dave Grohl is the one who wrote the lyrics, because it’s God who has sovereignly led me to say “Learning to walk again…. where do I begin?” God wants us to say this! God allows discipline in our lives so that we would get to a point where we are broken, humbled, and unable to attempt to fix our issue, and we then take all of our sin and brokenness and dump it at Jesus’ feet and say “Where do I begin?” So, maybe you too are learning to walk again, or talk again, or trust again, or be content again, or have joy again, or whatever it might be… You have a good God who is glorified in you through suffering NOT prosperity, so the right thing for you and I to do is to look up to Him and allow Him to “bless us and keep us- to make His face to shine upon us and be gracious to us-to lift up the light of His countenance upon us and bring us peace.” Look to God and say “Where do I begin?” He will show you the path forward and all He requires is that you trust Him alone.