Injuries! We hate them and they happen while doing the strangest things at the most inopportune times and! But wait! There is no good time for an injury. Once while trying to start the lawn mower, I was pulling and pulling the starter rope, pushing in the choke and pulling some more. Then it happened – Shooting pain in my right elbow! The pain lessened over the next few days to the point I didn’t notice a problem unless I was lifting something heavy and would momentarily wince in pain before moving on. The next time I went out to start the lawnmower I didn’t give my elbow a second thought. This time however it only took one misfire to send chills through my body as my elbow again exploded in pain. Okay, now I knew for sure something was wrong though I just kept going figuring my body would heal on its own. But it became increasingly difficult to do the things I love because my arm and elbow ached and hurt all the time. I tried a brace, rest, ice, heat, massage, yet the pain continued. When it became near impossible even to pick up my grandbabies I knew something had to change since that was simply unacceptable.
I had my Christian chiropractor/friend check my arm and he immediately diagnosed it with some long, very impressive name I do not remember, nor need to. He adjusted and realigned my elbow and then said, “Julie, now the rest is up to you” followed with three easy instructions: Do a specific stretching exercise three times a day; Do a deep tissue massage after stretching that would make me cross-eyed because of the pain; Ice my elbow and forearm after each of these sessions. The “rest” would not be easy but the payoff was worth it because I would again be able to do the things I loved without pain!
Those words “Julie, now the rest is up to you” continued to resonate in my spirit months later and I wanted to know why. Very often in life we want someone, even God, to fix our problems and then expect it to be smooth sailing afterwards. But rarely if ever is this the case because after an adjustment (a fix) there is a period of healing, strengthening, and restoration that needs to occur which might be even more painful than the initial problem. But knowing there is breakthrough when we do “the rest is up to you” part motivates us to cooperate.
Though the chiropractor reset my elbow and would help me as I did the rest of the healing, I was still responsible to follow through in order for full healing to come because he wouldn’t be looking over my shoulder making sure I was obeying his orders. When he said the rest was up to me he wasn’t leaving me hanging or refusing to help, he was just clarifying I had a part in the healing. What a great physical lesson to learn but there is also a spiritual lesson of even greater value –there is an act of obedience following any realignment in the Lord!
No matter when I have been injured in life, be it physically, emotionally, or spiritually, when I went to God, He has always been faithful to realign, and I can now hear Him say, “Now the rest is up to you.” He sets us straight and then gives us directives on how to stay in alignment. But He doesn’t just throw us out to the dogs and say “Hope it all works out for you.” Nor is He constantly looking over our shoulder forcing us to be obedient though He is always with us to help, assist, direct, tweak, and encourage! We still have to do the rest!
With this idea in mind I wondered how Scripture might confirm what I was thinking knowing God can do whatever He chooses, whenever He chooses, however He chooses. I discovered that because of the love relationship we have with God, He gives us the privilege of participating and doing the “rest”! Here are some biblical examples of people either doing or not doing “the rest is up to you” part! Perhaps we can learn something from their actions about our part!
Sin no more! In John 8 we are told about a woman who was caught in the actual “act” of adultery. How awkward would that be? It would be clumsy enough to get caught in the “act” but to be committing adultery well…. The leaders brought this woman to Jesus, expecting to stone her and He simply wrote in the sand with His finger as though He hadn’t heard but finally spoke, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (v.7) At this statement the men were convicted by their own consciences and every one of them left. Then Jesus tells the woman He will not condemn her and gives her a directive, “…Go and sin no more.” (v.11) Jesus realigned her life (since we can safely say she too felt the conviction) but now she would need to do “the rest is up to you” part by sinning no more!
Go and wash! In 2 Kings 5 we read about Naaman, a commander of the Syrian army, a mighty man of valor but also a leper. Leprosy was physically painful and the stigma attached to the disease caused lepers to be isolated from the general population. Naaman’s servant girl suggested he go to the prophet, Elisha who would heal his leprosy. So Naaman asked the King for some time off to go and get healed, to which the King wrote him a letter of support and sent him on his way. Through a round-about process, Naaman ended up at Elisha’s door and was told to “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” (v.10) Naaman was instantly enraged and went away since he wanted the healing done FOR him! He did not want to do “the rest is up to you” part! He had some good servants though who chased him down and talked some sense into him. After all, what did he have to lose except the leprosy? God used Elisha to realign Namaan’s body but now he would need to do “the rest is up to you” part by washing in the Jordan River seven times. He did and his flesh was restored like that of a small child and he was clean. The result ? He became a believer in God!
Go and sell all that we have! Luke 18 tells a story of a ruler who went to Jesus inquiring as to what was necessary to inherit eternal life. As Jesus shared the commandments with him he proclaimed he had kept all of them from his youth until that day. Jesus listened to him and then said, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (v.22) This man went to Jesus because he had a need and Jesus was willing to realign him by revealing the man’s heart to him. But the young ruler would need to do “the rest is up to you” part which was sell everything and give it to the poor. Unfortunately in this scenario the man refused to do his part instead becoming filled with sorrow and walking away. He did not recognize that the prize for selling and following was far greater than the riches he presently possessed.
Leave our family and fulfill the call of God elsewhere! Genesis 12 gives us the story of Abram (later renamed Abraham) where God said “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”(v.1) Against all common sense, Abram obeyed God, heading south to the land of Canaan, to a place that did not belong to him, and during a famine simply because God was realigning him and his family. As Abram did “the rest is up to you” part, God made a covenant with Abram and changed his name to Abraham, the father of many nations, as recorded in Genesis 17:5. Even though Abraham made more mistakes after this covenant he continued to do “the rest is up to you” part and the results are phenomenal. You can read all about it in Genesis 17-25!
Promptly obey and follow! In Matthew 8 we have the scenario of a disciple of Jesus wanting to follow Him but asked if he could first go and bury his father. This surely sounds like a reasonable request wouldn’t you think? But Jesus’ response is “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (v.22) Jesus aligned this disciple and “the rest is up to you” part was for him to obey and follow promptly!
Stretch our faith even in the face of naysayers! Matthew 12 gives us the story of religious leaders who after seeing a man with a withered hand attempt to accuse Jesus of wrongdoing by asking if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus’ response included a sheep analogy as He told the leaders that any one of them would lift one of their sheep out of a hole if it fell in on the Sabbath. Then reminded them men are of much more value than sheep so healing fell into the category of “doing good” on the Sabbath, therefore it was lawful. Jesus realigned the religious leaders and the man with the withered hand. “Then He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.” (v.13) “The rest is up to you” part for the Pharisees was to agree then go and do likewise. But instead they went out and plotted against Jesus in order to destroy Him. Bad idea! “The rest is up to you” part for the man with the withered hand was to stretch it out in faith believing Jesus in the face of the unbelieving Pharisees! The result? It was restored as whole as the other! Good idea!
Give from our lack in order to overflow with abundance! In 1 Kings 17 we read about a widow and her son who were starving during a drought and the Lord sent the prophet Elijah to her house. When he arrived he asked for water and bread to which she told him she had no bread and only enough oil and flour to make a small loaf for herself and her son and then they would prepare to die. What a powerful display of desperation! Even with this news, Elijah tells her to make the loaf for him, bring it to him, and then go back and make some for herself and her son. In a great act of faith, she refuses to be offended, believes God and does what Elijah instructs her to do. “For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’’(v.14) This woman did “the rest is up to you” part and she and her son were saved.
Be prepared! Matthew 25 is a beautiful and fearful warning for us to be prepared for the coming of Christ in this story of the five wise and five foolish virgins. The five wise ones stayed awake, trimming their wicks, keeping their oil lamps filled while the foolish virgins slept. The bridegroom would align them in faith by showing up. The foolish virgins decided not to do “the rest is up to you” part and be ready. The wise virgins did “the rest is up to you part” by being watchful and as a result they were prepared when the bridegroom did His part by showing up in His time.
Well, I know I could keep going because Scripture is filled with more stories about this relationship we share with God! Let it be so in our lives that when God moves, aligns or realigns, we do “the rest is up to you” part and experience His newness as a result! I pray this resonates in your spirit as it has in mine!