It wasn’t long ago that my father-in-law lost part of his leg due to complications of diabetes. It’s a tragic and difficult thing to watch, let alone go through. We’ve seen him struggle to learn how to walk and function without his foot physically and emotionally. He has a prosthetic, but he’s quick to tell us: “It’s just not the same.”
It wasn’t long ago that my husband was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Several surgeries, rounds of radiation and much hormone suppression into this thing, I can assure you life and his body are: “Not the same.”
It wasn’t long ago that I incurred some pretty intense back problems of my own. They have involved 3 surgeries to replace several cervical vertebral discs with metal rods and screws and I can assure you: “It’s not the same.”
In all three cases, there is something missing, something that cannot be replaced. Form. Function. Pieces. Parts.
Missing pieces of a body rarely can be, replaced. Sure, we stumble along on prosthetics. Some even master these devices and exceed even doctors’ hopes and expectations. However, most just learn how to work and live with limitations. Functioning, sure. But the parts are still missing and missed – at times creating phantom pain that is difficult to both understand and treat.
A hole is left.
A scar is created.
A gait is changed.
A life is altered.
A body’s functioning is rearranged.
All because, something is missing.
Until recently, I thought of my role in the story of the Gospel as being a helper. Someone who helps others come to Jesus and be made whole. Better. So that their lives and eternities can function better.
I suppose I thought that I, and maybe Jesus, were supposed to be a one size fits all prosthesis or transplant of a sort. Where a hand was needed? Voila! A hand. A foot? Bingo! A foot. I thought the Gospel meant to help people find what could replace or repair their missing or broken parts: God. Isn’t that the Gospel message? Isn’t that loving evangelism? Aren’t people God’s fixer-uppers and we’re his holy door-to-door work crew?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Lately, I’ve been thinking I’ve got the whole thing wrong.
What if it’s not just all those OTHER people who need my help to fix, fill or replace their broken pieces?
What if they are missing parts in the body of Christ? What if they are what’s missing in me?
What if I need them, as much as they need me. Maybe, even more so?
Maybe that’s why the world is so messed up. We’re actually not supposed to be “the same” as we once were and we need to embrace this reality. We’re hobbling around missing pieces of what we need most. Christ.
What if, instead of treating people like they need our fixer-upper help, we started treating people like the missing pieces that they are? Pieces that we desperately need. Voices we need to hear. Eyes whose perspective we require in order to see the whole picture. What if we sought them out not to change them, but to love them because we need each other? Valuable and beloved. Missing and missed. Needed.
What if the Gospel really isn’t just about them but about us?
Needing each other. In Christ.
I’m willing to find out.
I’m choosing to start looking for my missing pieces instead of the fixer uppers I think I can help. Will you join me?
Tracey Solomon is a writer and Board member with MOPS International; she loves public speaking and people. She has a shoe addiction that has grown into her current writing project: A Mile in Her Shoes. Tracey is married to Kyle Solomon -amazing husband and prostate cancer warrior. They live in a suburban zoo (3 sons, 3 dogs, 2 cats) outside of Detroit. Connect with Tracey: www.traceysolomon.com