2 Corinthians 1:4
who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Beat feet! Beat feet! The deep voice of the drill Sargent still rings in my ears. It was the mid 1980’s and I was at Fort Dix N.J in Basic Training. The cadenced drumming of thousands of troops marching could be heard across the massive base.
And not surprisingly many of us soldiers had foot problems. I still retain some of mine to this day, mainly toenails that have died from excessive water and poorly fitting boots.
Today I am a nurse in a family clinic that sees hundreds of patients a week. And I see FEET every day, lots of feet, big feet, little feet, medium size feet, smelly feet and clean feet, healthy and unhealthy feet.
Being a nurse has taught me to be humble, to be tender and to touch people with deep respect.
My hands and yes my feet are instruments of Jesus in my daily life. When I take a blood pressure or examine a wound or assist in a procedure I am connecting with my fellow brothers or sisters in Christ and fellow humans in an intimate way.
The human anatomy includes feet; all humans have them unless they have been lost due to illness or accident. The rich, the poor, the sick, the disabled all have feet in need of care.
I have begun over time to understand the profound significance of Jesus washing his disciple’s feet. “So as I have done for you, you must do for each other.”
Foot washing is a parable of the Cross.
Somedays I wash feet, or bandage them, or medicate them. I take socks and shoes on and off, I do diabetic foot exams for the doctor. Indications of unhealthy feet include burning, numbness, and brittle toenails, red and swollen big toes, sores that won’t heal to name a few.
When I wash the feet of my fellow man or woman I show humility and service. I do the hard thing that is counter to the selfish culture of our day. I understand that I am not greater, or smarter or better than the person in front of me.
I like everyone else tends toward trusting Jesus now and understanding him later. Sometimes I rebel against this if it seems difficult or unreasonable to me. I have become better over the course of my life in trusting in his ways and not grumbling, yet I still fail. Jesus said to Peter, “What I am doing now you will not understand but afterward you will understand.”
It has taken me many years of struggle as the Holy Spirit and Christ Jesus has worked in me to help me understand that everything I do, no matter where I am is in his service.
At work even when I am pushed beyond my ability or outside my comfort zone it is to be used whenever possible to bring the gospel to someone who needs to hear it.
I have come to know 2 Corinthians 1:4 well as it has lead me to take my own suffering and use it to minister to patients I meet that suffer as well.
I have had three different primary Cancers over the course of the past 23 years. Over 20 hours of surgery, Chemo, Radiation, Hormone Therapy and all of the side effects. Last year one of the Cancers came back and I went through treatment and sickness for most of 2018. I continue to suffer with severe side effects and must be on medications to make it through my day.
My suffering makes me less focused on me and more focused on those around me. It is a gift, so I try not to waste it.
When I care for the feet of those in front of me I go low in order to go high. This means even outside of my vocation I serve my family, friends and strangers by not only literally washing their feet but by doing what is hard. My epiphany has been that I am happiest and most satisfied when I serve others, when I put aside my ego and pride and my attempts at self-aggrandizement.
I don’t deceive myself into thinking I have no sin. I am the worst of sinners and I confess my sin daily! No matter how I mature and grow in God’s grace that will remain a fact.
When I cleanse, or bandage or care for someone’s feet I acknowledge humbly that we are both cleansed by Jesus.