Staying Strong When Your Body Weakens
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” —Jim Elliot
Imagine you're sitting in the office of your family physician…but this isn’t just any doctor, it’s the office of the Great Physician. You thought it was just a routine visit to make sure everything is okay with your body, but with gentle and serious eyes, God asks you to sit down.
“I’ve got good news and bad news,” He starts… and deep inside you know He isn’t making a joke.
Might as well start with the bad news?
Your body will deteriorate.
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
When I was playing basketball in college, I set a life goal for myself: to be able to dunk a basketball on my 50th birthday. The week of my 30th birthday I got an excruciating pain in my lower back. Turns out I have three bad discs in the lower portion of my spine. It’s tough to work out now—though eating still comes easily.
Combine this with sitting at a desk 10 hours a day and my once strong legs now resemble white threads hanging harmlessly from my belt. The ultimate humiliation came when my son was 13 and beat me at a game of one-on-one in our driveway—by full-on blocking one of my shots! (And at 6’5”, I stood 5 inches taller than he did!)
At the beginning of my 45th year, I decided to get serious about dunking that basketball again. With a fresh new year’s resolution, I set out on a short run on January 1. “Pop!” By the middle of January, I was on the operating table repairing a torn meniscus.
I’m getting pretty close to the big 5-0, now, but I actually dunked for the first time in 13 years last week. I’ve been working hard towards it and I was pretty pumped. But I also know it’s a temporary accomplishment. Unless I use a mini-trampoline, I don’t think I’ll be spending much time above the rim in the decades ahead.
Second Corinthians 4:16, indeed. Yeah, there is plenty of bad news, but there is amazingly good news, too. In the days ahead, may we get a clearer, Truthful diagnosis through God’s Word!
Great Physician, thank You for our life-sustaining bodies. Use the reality of my deteriorating body to teach me about life. I don’t want to lose heart. I also don’t want to live in denial of the inevitable outward wasting away of my mortal body. Renew my soul daily, Lord, as I look toward my future on earth and beyond. Amen.