Lord, I am awed by your majesty and humbled by your infinite love for me.

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Frankly Phyllis

The Importance of Doing

Knowledge is power, right? Maybe, but not in and of itself. Once you hear valuable information, you have to do something with it. Ok, so that's worked for me a few times. I heard smoking is bad for my health and finally did something about it. I stopped years ago -- as in many years ago -- but I still salivate if I talk about it for more than a minute. I listened to what I heard and acted on it; it was difficult, but it's one of my finest examples of self-control.

What I really wonder about is what I call the "knowledge reef." It seems to me there's a reef out there keeping pertinent knowledge from getting to us. Take my knees...please, I wish you would! After decades of tennis singles, chasing shots at which I should have waved, and tearing my miniscus, I needed knowledge. The knowledge I received advised arthoscopic surgery. I chose to follow other knowledge, the knowledge that says that every seven years our bodies make all new cells. Basically they replace themselves...except, as I've learned now, knees apparently don't do that. Seven years later, add osteoarthritis to the knees and you get PAIN in capital letters.

Next came shots in the knees, returning me temporarily to tennis, but eventually even the shots barely worked. Then one Sunday at a brunch, I found a business card about pain management in a restaurant. A restaurant with medical information? Hey I know it's not the most obvious place to get health advice, but they also sell liquor in drive-through stands -- crazier things have happened! I would do just about anything to put off knee replacement, even though it works wonders for many who get their tennis game back; I'm waiting for the invention of a 20-minute fix with the same result. The pain management plan didn't offer the promise that you'd hobble in and six weeks later run out the front door. It would involve pain, and I signed up for it, albeit with misgivings. What did I have to lose?

Seven weeks and a lot of pain and management later, knowledge is power. This combination of shots, physical therapy, and adjustment is working for me. I can do things I've avoided for several years, because I'm hearing and doing, pushing through pain to work my muscles every day. The acid test came this week. I drove 550 miles alone, unpacked the car, and mowed grass for an hour with a gas engine mower you have to push! Then I rode my bike for 20 minutes to unwind. This amazes me! Yeah, I overdid it and will pay for that, but it was worth it to learn not to do that much at once again. I'm told this response of mine is not that unusual for people who give pain management a try. My big question: why didn't anybody tell me before now? Did my former medical advisors want to simply maintain my knees and get me under the knife quicker? I doubt it. Perhaps they don't know about this combination of shots and physical therapy? I want the whole world to know, so I'm starting with you.

A caveat here: arthritis is a progressive disease. It's being diagnosed in persons as young as 40, so watch your weight and stay active. There is no disease modifier for arthritis. That means, even though I do all the right stuff, the disease continues to progress. But for now, I am thankful that knowledge empowered me to work through some pain for this much gain! I'll never be 100% back to my normal knees again, and I may face surgery some day. But a few years of less pain are worth the pursuit of relief.

My little story about hearing and doing to overcome the "knowledge reef" is powerful enough. But it's nothing compared to what the Bible teaches me about hearing and doing. With Biblical knowledge, I can look for relief from life's pains and ups and downs through hope in the One who specializes in pain management. God's love brings a sense of inner calm and direction, because He's in control even though we're not. How do we access that kind of knowledge to get us the pain management we need? The New American Standard Bible in James 1:22 helps here: "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." The same verse in the New International Bible reads, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." We need to not just know what's right, but do the right things that we hear, too!

So get the knowledge you need. Hear the truth on which to act, whether it's about smoking, knees, or life and faith issues. Bible verses, which are truth, come to my mind. The Old Testament Isaiah 40:21 passage that begins, "Do you not know? Have you not heard?" refers to who God is and what He does. He keeps "doing" His repair work through our hearing of His word. He heals not just knees, but broken hearts and mangled minds. It helps to hear and heed Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." Hebrew scholars say that "Be still" refers not just to getting quiet but submitting to God in our weakness and waiting for Him to get us knowledge so we can hear and know what to do.

The great part about reading God's word is that it hand-delivers His perfect advice on how to live and act. His promises for us are in there, not just to take Him up on, but so we can see how faithfully He keeps them! When we hear that, God's Holy Spirit enables us to do things beyond our human ability, because we're not in this alone. Let's go after the knowledge. I found some on a card in a restaurant but, as great as that's been for me, it doesn't stack up to the Word of God! Keep an ear out for yours! Then be a doer...not a hearer only!

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