Avoiding “The Manipulation”

Manipulation: : to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Post Op 3 weeks:  Today was a day of reckoning.  In order to avoid “the manipulation,” Wyndham had to make some big progress with the flexion of his knee.  During a visit with his surgeon last week, the doctor was not entirely pleased with my husband’s progress since his surgery.  So, during this visit the doctor placed “the fear of the Lord” in my husband and set up daily physical therapy as well.  He informed him that if he did not have 100 degrees of flexion (the angle at which the knee bends) by today he would have to undergo “the manipulation.”  IMG_4235 This flexion number is needed in order to be on target for reaching the ultimate goal of 130 degrees of flexion.  The doctor even set up the appointment for this procedure to take place tomorrow.

“The manipulation” is known to be a most dreaded torturous procedure.  In this “fun little activity” one is put under anesthesia while the doctor (through his sheer force and power) makes the muscles and tendons move beyond what they can do on their own.  Anesthesia is administered because it is considered too painful to endure while awake.  Unfortunately, the pain raises its ugly head when the anesthesia wears off.   This flexion goal is considered quite important.   If the desired flexion is not reached, the result of the surgery would be disappointing, as the goaled flexion and extension is needed for an acceptable range of motion and use of the knee, and all the attached appendages.

Wyndham worked extremely hard all week, well beyond what was comfortable for him.  He worked with his physical therapist and then continued at home with his “homework.”  So today, the day of reckoning came during the physical therapy session… and he bent his knee to 101 degrees.  This was great progress from a mere 83 degrees a week ago.  The therapist was able to get it to 109 degrees, which pleased him – as this was on target for the goal of 130 degrees.  “The Manipulation” was cancelled.

Of course there are numerous spiritual applications throughout this healing process.  As I have been reading through the Old Testament, I am reminded just how serious God is about obedience to him.  When he gives a command he expects that it is followed.  Failure to do this results in his discipline.  Yet this is not because he is out to hurt us –  quite the opposite.  We hurt ourselves and face his discipline when we don’t take him seriously.  The response is up to us.

    No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  (Hebrews 12:11)

 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,  (1 John 5:3)

He knows how we are meant to function (he made us) and wants to see us live the way we were intended to live and to see us reach our full potential.  If we, through the help of Jesus, our Great Physician, the help of a “physical therapist” (those involved in our lives helping us keep the course and reach the potential God has put in us) and our own wholehearted effort to grow we will perhaps be able to avoid many painful manipulations that we would incur without these helpers.

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.  (Luke 13:24)

    Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11)

    So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2 Peter 3:14)

God expects us to take him seriously.  Graciously, he gives us everything we need to live in the way we were intended to live.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  (2 Peter 1:3)

Day by day, with the help of our God, the help of other disciples and our hard work we too can make progress that brings us toward the goal of becoming all God created us to be.

And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.  2 Cor 3:18 (NRSV)

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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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