Crystal Writes A Blog

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Surgery for a Stiff Neck

Neck Surgery Staples by Crystal A Murray as Flickr User CrystalWriter, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Neck Surgery Staples by Crystal A Murray as Flickr User CrystalWriter, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access my full photo stream at Flickr. This image is one of my most viewed because so many people look for images of surgery before having their own. I’ve seen far worse though. 🙂

It seemed to come out of the blue. I went to lift my head off the pillow, and I couldn’t do it because of the pain. I figured I must have slept wrong or let a draft get to it. After three months of non-stop pain, I gave in and went to the doctor. Much testing revealed a severely ruptured disk and the recommendation of surgery. I tried every other avenue first, including prayer and chiropractic treatments, but since I kept getting worse, I set date to have it fixed.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 9:4 through Deuteronomy 9:29 (the end of the chapter), we read about people with a stiff neck that didn’t have the option of traditional surgery. The first thing Moses tells them here is not to think they get to go into the land of promise because of their good works or righteousness. To the contrary, he tells them that they are only going in because of God’s love for them and His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They also get to go in because of the extreme wickedness of the nations that now live there; nations that God is driving out to make room for His people.

Moses calls the people “a stiffnecked people” and goes on to give them examples of why they have earned that title. He tells them of his time on the mountain with God, and how they were on the brink of annihilation if not for his intercession on their behalf. He talks of staying on the mountain for 40 days and nights without food or drink, laying down before The Lord just to plead for their lives.

Moses continues the story and tells them how he emerged with the two stone tablets containing all the words of the covenant God made with Israel (sounds like a bit more than just The Ten Commandments), and how he arrived to find the people worshiping a golden calf instead of Yahveh. He was so upset with them that he crushed their calf into dust and sprinkled it into the water supply. Here he had been excited and ready to share this blessed covenant, written by the finger of God Himself, and instead he found the people restlessly worshiping a false god that could not see or hear, let alone make a covenant with them.

After Moses recounts more incidents of testing and rebellion on the part of Israel, he talks of going back to the mountain to plead for the lives of the people. He says that even though they never trusted The Lord and always rebelled against Him, he begged God to spare them because they were His own inheritance. He tells them of how he reminded God of all He had done for the people so far and of what their enemies would say if God did not spare them. And because Moses reminded God of the value of His inheritance, God spared the people who were there that day to cross over into a new land.

After forty years, I would think people had heard these stories multiple times. Is it really possible to tell a history often enough and with enough passion for people to figure out its importance? I mean, after all they had seen and heard, shouldn’t the people have been convinced by then? But apparently they were not. Moses was still saying they were stiffnecked, and apparently the many “neck surgeries” he and God had tried on them were not yet successful.

My post-surgical picture above is from my second surgery.  The first may have been successful if I was not so stiffnecked in being a people-pleaser. I went back to work too soon because my boss was complaining about the quality of work from my replacement, and while there, I fell and snapped away the fusion before it had fully set. The second surgery, though more detailed and with a lot more metal in place, has never been quite right, so I’m now stuck in pain and numbness unless and until God decides to heal me His way.

Even now, as I shake my hand after so much typing just to make it feel better, I am frustrated with my constant stiff neck and the irritation in the associated muscles and nerves. When I hear the crackles from turning my head, I become aggravated with myself for putting myself in a situation that took away my chance to heal correctly.

I imagine God was frustrated in having to deal with people to whom He gave so many opportunities for change. They could have repented and let God’s love do surgery on their rebellious hearts, but they just kept going back to the ways that got them in trouble time and again. As I’ve read through the Torah this year and seen new groups of people doing the same stuff, making the same accusations against God and Moses, and getting into the same situations over and over, I’ve often said, “Not again!.” But, yes, it happened again and again with them, and in reality, it happens again and again with us.

Maybe neck surgeries aren’t really that successful because surgery always creates scar tissue. The scarring then puts pressure where the ruptured disk once put it, so though not as bad, there’s still nerve irritation. Maybe enough surgeries to remove the scarring could eventually thin it out though. And the same goes with our repentance before The Lord. I think if we put our stubbornness and rebellion at the foot of the cross often enough, we could eventually cut away the fleshly reactions of going back to doing things our own way. Then again, the most successful surgery might be the one that separates us from this flesh for eternity and gives us our new bodies that are like Yeshua’s glorified body. Somehow, I don’t think He ever has to worry about a stiff neck.

August 4, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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