It had been longer than I wanted it to be when I walked the mile loop in our neighborhood last winter. Every step was painful, but I'd been cooped up inside with an aching body for too long. The sunshine and change of scenery was now a necessity.
I was only a quarter mile 'round when a physically fit friend jogged up. She was out for her usual 7 mile run. She paused to say a hello, then proceeded to inform me how important regular exercise is, and that I should be at it everyday. I didn't bother explaining that there was a mutiny in my body. A dose of compassion and encouragement would have been a kinder way to cheer me on, but she didn't know. She returned to her run, and I returned to my hobble -discouraged.
For 16 years I've endured one medical issue after another. It's been rough- to say the least. And last winter was on the "pain level scale of 1-10" a 30. No joke.
As I walked at the pace of a snail, the quote "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." came to mind.
'You are a soul, and not this body,' I thought. Phew.
And then I remembered this scripture
"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 exceeds them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
II Corinthians 4:16-18These thoughts were from the Lord. How sweet of Him to interrupt what could have been another pity party with sweet Truth.
He continued to chat with me, and caused me to glimpse a bit of the beauty from the pain of the past 16yrs:
He's used the medical issues to cause this control-freak to relinquish control, and depend on others (especially my husband); ultimately leading me to depend on Him.
He used each illness to grow my children in compassion, thoughtfulness, in prayer, and as servants.
He's expanded my faith by providing financially for surgery and other expenses. Many times the financial provision didn't come, but hindsight showed how He'd provided deeper needs with Himself.
He's shown me glimpses of how He wants to be glorified (made known) through me- often in a waiting room or a prescription line.
He's taught me in the last year that nothing has permission to take away my God-given security-and that includes any medical issue.
And most recently in the wrestling (because really, the pain that is the hardest to bear is the emotional pain) He brought to light the bitter root of entitlement, and asked am "I your God even when..." Because "when" is going to happen. Suffering is going to happen. And I have resolved THE LORD IS MY GOD even when. And not just that, but I HAVE EVERY THING I NEED BECAUSE HE IS MY GOD.
After the glimpse a thought "would you prefer your body or soul to be fit?"
My flesh had been struggling with this for some time, but I knew my honest answer; the deeper desire- "my soul."
The Spirit lifted my head, "your soul is gorgeous."
My response "Really? I want that."
I desire a gorgeous soul more than I want an attractive body... more than I long for a healthy body.
Because this body- it's temporary.
But my soul,
Here's what I have come to realize- when we finally make it home to heaven, we'll see in each other what we should have been nudging to health all along-
we'll see each others true selves- our souls.
I want mine to resemble Jesus'.
I've got to fix my eyes on that.
On the unseen.
So I praise the LORD my God for the sufferings, because though outwardly I am wasting away, inwardly I am being renewed day by day.
Side note: I am not implying that when we die we are only souls. Revelations 21 speaks of "no more pain" and that God is "making all things new!" I look forward to kicking pain to the curb and being made new. However, in the meantime I NEED TO put less emphasis on being whole physically, and more emphasis on being whole spiritually.