All my wounds are internal. You cannot see them with the naked eye. Some are spiritual. Some are physical, visible by x-ray or blood work. Only God sees. He is intensely aware of them at all times. His radiance heals me. I gaze on him with an unveiled face, the protective covering torn away, the hidden places uncovered. And I am transformed into his image.
I carry his suffering in my body. My body is also broken. But, because of him, my spirit is renewed. The human life is about surrender to these realities.
Some of us know this immediately. If we’re born with a challenge to our health, we grasp this from Day One. Those of us who are born healthy and strong are the truly handicapped. We are the morally and spiritually challenged.
We think we’re invincible. The years cure us of our insanity.
I used to be an athlete. Two-and-a-half years ago, I could pace circles around my husband. Then I tore my hamstring and severely injured my groin. Within seven months, two car accidents inflicted more damage. After much work, I now walk with a smooth gait. I bear no marks on my skin. But the events of 2011 changed everything.
Since that year I have faithfully followed the prescribed regimen, hoping and praying for full recovery. But today the doctors all agreed that I will never be what I once was. It is written. The reality rocks me. When I was young, I didn’t grasp how the accumulation of years and injuries impacted aging. Now I know. Now it is personal.
I cannot lift my grandchildren. I cannot give my house a good cleaning. I have to adjust my work posture frequently, shifting, tilting, and fidgeting. I struggle to keep up with my husband. Another person grows old. This is how it happens. This time it is me. Who knew?
This declaration is a life sentence, and the recent mystery illness has now been diagnosed. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I must surrender. Job-like, I turn my mind to thanksgiving. I yield. Constant pain and weariness are teaching me to number my days. They draw me nearer to God.
Our physical bodies age, wear out, and die. We know this, but we don’t really believe it until it happens to us. These realities are a cause for thanksgiving, IF we see beyond the pain, IF we grasp the essential truth: The Potter can shape the clay any way he likes.
My spirit—unveiled, seen, and possessed by the Spirit of the Lord—is a treasure contained in a jar of clay. Clay is dirt. Since the first Adam, our vessels are crafted by God. Often he reshapes and reforms us. As we age the jar cracks. Our bodies break. The writing is on the wall. But my spirit beholds God’s glory. He has shone into my heart. This is the eternal verity.
These pains are a gift. God, in his mercy, has given me thorns. The veil has been ripped aside. His gaze is fixed upon me. He personally undertakes my refinement. He crafts me to need him. Needing him is my only hope.
These broken places remind me that I am finite. They force me to be dependent on him. Only he is intimately aware of my daily reality. This lesson enables me to see my physical limitations and, more importantly, my spiritual limitations.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinth. 4:16-18).
I am sadly and irreparably broken, both physically and spiritually. I need Jesus. I used to think I could get through each day just fine without him. I was a legalistic rule keeper. He is teaching me to cling closely to him. He is the blessing that enables this life and the next.
I will fix my eyes on him. I will trust. I will not lose heart. This is the lesson.
Are you learning to rely on the only Source?
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