I’ve got a nasty case of tennis elbow that intermittently hurts like the dickens. The last few days it has felt like an acetylene torch is aimed at my elbow.
Meanwhile my nose has started to run like a faucet for some bizarre reason, probably because after 40-whatever years my body decided to be allergic to something.
On top of this, I still have stitches sticking out of my lip from where I got bashed in the face with a Frisbee the day after Easter. A canker sore the size of Florida developed on the inside of my lip making sleeping and talking impossible. But who really needs to do those things anyway, right?
Last week I got food poisoning and found myself on my knees ralphing in the parking lot of an airport. I will spare you the details except to say that most of the fluid that needed to be expelled was apparently stored in my toes, requiring violent exercises to move it from there to the parking lot. My stomach gurgled like a clogged drain for the next several days.
Now I’m dealing with vertigo, which isn’t a problem except for when I’m upright or awake. Then it makes me feel dizzy and tipsy.
I’m a mess.
The truth is all my ailments and aches are healing. My stitches will dissolve and my lip will be fine. In time my elbow will be back to normal. I’m confident that with some rest and a doctor’s visit God will command my head to stop spinning and my stomach to stop gurgling. I will probably get better.
So many have much more serious issues with their bodies right now. I’m not talking about Kobe Bryant’s Achilles heel or RG3’s knee. I mean serious stuff. Like little 6 year old Ava’s cancer. And Elaine’s broken leg, and Stuart’s chemo treatments. Our prayer list at Mountain is longer than Santa’s To Do list.
You either have some serious physical illness right now, or you have someone very close to you who does. It’s part of life. The spring buds are bringing new life to the trees and bushes around us, but our bodies are aging and decaying and wasting away. I don’t care who you are, you’re either old or getting old.
And you’re going to die.
I like for my blog to be a happy, inspirational kind of place.
But here’s what the scriptures say. Put on your bifocals and read these words of truth carefully. Let them sink into your mind, if you have enough functioning brain cells left:
“The one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus…” (2 Corinthians 4:14).
You’re getting a new body one day. That means that right now, in the meantime…
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Your physical body is on a one-way trip to deterioration. Entropy is no respecter of persons. Your skin will sag, your energy will flag, and your butt will drag until they put you in a bag. Sorry, there’s no end-run around it. Besides, if you tried an end-run you’d probably die of a heart attack. And as little reminders of our eventual date with death, there’s cancer, allergies, stitches in your lip, and vertigo.
But even when your body begins to break down, you don’t need to let it get YOU down. The inner renewal of God’s work can grow stronger through the years – even when our body is wasting away. My friend Terry Silence died a few weeks back. His body had wasted away. But his spirit was renewed day by day on the inside. Spiritually he was alive and fresh when he checked out of his worn out frame.
It’s an important perspective in a health-crazed society.
“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 Corinthians 4:17-18)
One thing this means is that you can stop getting all depressed about your body, your ailments, your love handles, and pimples. Sure, go for more walks, take a baby aspirin every day, stay on the elliptical and stop eating so many donuts. And yes, cancer is a terrible nightmare, and the anguish of so many diseases can be nearly unbearable.
But ultimately, it points us to where all who are in Christ are going. People of faith know that one day we will have new bodies.
And in the meantime, we know there’s a whole lot more to life than what meets the eye when you look in the mirror.
Fixing my eyes on what I can’t see,