Though she grew up athletic and active, her greatest blessing in life hasn’t been wellness or strength or ability, but has been found in sickness, sorrow and loss. Why? Because of the arms to which they made her turn.
Friends, I am convinced that if we're not careful, "seeing health (or illness) through the Gospel's lens" can become no more than a catchphrase. We have to mine God's Word for the indisputable truths nestled throughout. From Genesis to John, we have irrefutable evidence of the precious origin and the eternal significance of these temporary jars of clay.
As I look around, the same messages are everywhere. You are special. Trust yourself. Be true to yourself. Commencement speeches are larded with the same clichés: Follow your passion. Don’t accept limits. You are so great. This self-centeredness leads in several unfortunate directions. It leads to selfishness. It leads to pride. It leads to a capacity to ignore your imperfections and inflate your virtues; constantly seeking recognition and painfully sensitive to any snub to the status we feel we have earned for ourselves
I’ve learned the hard way that if we’re unwilling to grieve our losses then our compassion for others will be significantly stunted. I don’t like brokenness and sickness, and limitation and pain, but if it tunes my heart to care for others, grant me grace, Father, to rejoice in suffering.
Some people will tell you that they train because they "get to." They see it as favor, a blessing, something to enjoy, a means to give back to God and celebrate life and limbs and ability. And yet there are others who train because they "have to." They see it as obedience. Much like they would manage their money, they see exercise as temporary stewardship. They don't love it, but they love Him, so they take care of themselves. Obedience, after all, doesn't have to be fun. I could argue that they are the ones truly making a sacrifice of praise.
There are far more important things in life than standing up and walking.
And when you’re left with just one stone, the painful and hopeful truth to a shell of a man is as convicting as it is comforting. The same grace that convicts us is the grace that pardons us. Along this road, grace looks both ways.
Yeah, although he came back with memories of deeds as stinky as his pig-slopped clothes, the prodigal in our verse couldn't stray beyond his father's love. Before he knew it, a robe replaced rags, a ring dressed his hand and a feast filled his belly. And while you and I may not have mud on our shoes, there's not a person reading this sentence who doesn't need that kind of grace from a grace-giving God.
There’ll be peace when you are done…
The recipients of the gift of mobility may never meet Joni herself. They may never hear her high-pitched, joy-filled voice. They will likely never see her face to face, share a meal or join her in song. But on their respective dusty roads of obscurity, amid languages as diverse as the cultures they represent, they look down and push the wheels of their chairs and somehow they touch her and she feels it.
The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.
More than we need to crush our goals, we need to be crushed by His grace. A thousand times more than we need to beat yesterday's best, we need to remember that it is already finished. Yes, my kingdom go. Just go.
Yes sir, if there's a bodily trait that should remind us to be thankful for grace, it's atrophy, especially if you consider 1) the amount of work it takes to gain muscle and 2) how quickly it disappears if left untrained for whatever reason.
The self is that opponent I seldom slug. I pull my punch. I love him too much. But even when I do knock him down, he is never out. Inevitably, out of my periphery I see him getting up off the canvas. He is relentless. There are no neutral corners with him. He can't hear the bell. He won't stay down. And like a seasoned sparring partner, he knows my soft targets. He is as unwelcome to me as a sunrise to the sleepless. I would know.
My note for Joni Eareckson Tada and her amazing blog. What an honor. Only grace.
They've dedicated a life of allegiance because of every soldier who's ever filled a tomb. We've committed our lives because of an empty one.
“Jimmy, I don’t want to elevate her, and I don’t want to lower Christ, but Joni Eareckson Tada is the closest thing to Jesus I have ever known.”
ll take you to meet Kevin. A former Dallas cop with a brain injury. I want his heart.
I’ll take you to meet Ryle. Spina bifida imprisons his little body, but his spirit no arena can hold.
I’ll take you to a welcome ceremony, a pirate’s play and a talent show. I’ll take you there.
And I’ll introduce you to a small team of people leading the charge in Texas for kids and families impacted by special needs. So, if you’re looking for a reason to serve, to train, to hard-charge the week, to eat right, to see your health and illness through the Gospel’s lens, I have just one…I’m happy.
How we handle our gifts and abilities could produce a truce. Where we go in times of sickness is a chance at a treaty. Isn't that the real point? It really isn't about being at peace with my body. God-forbid I minimize the topic down to the preservation of self-acceptance or being comfortable in my own skin.
Few things in life are pure. But sometimes moments of purity invite themselves into our world without notice, permission or apology.
God will glorify our bodies. That's not our job.
May our abilities and our disabilities, our personal records and our medical records,
carry a message to the world that, although we grow weary, a new body is coming.
It’s not to say that strength, growth and progress aren't - at times and under certain conditions - byproducts. But they are - under every circumstance - on loan. Temporary treasures. Perishable gifts.
What will we do when our loss of muscle, or our gain of bodyfat, our diminishing bone mass, elevated resting heart rate, our unrelenting atrophy, our irreversible disease progression, or our unmistakeable loss of strength testifies to the truth that we are made of dust, not iron. What will we do with Easter?
Despite this gift of grace and mercy, He didn't run to embrace Him. He didn't leap for joy, lift his hands in praise or kneel in worship. Why?
In as much time as it took a thousand runners to pass me by, I wrapped my leg in a makeshift tourniquet using stored gauze and as many white flags as I could find in my heart.
When I got sick a few years ago, my grasp of my mortality tightened and my sensitivity to the brittleness of my body heightened. I came face-to-face with a certain truth. That my physical limit wasn't my personal best; like some passing bench press (405lb.) or my squat (550lb.); imposters disguised as my potential. I list them only to help illustrate that those mountain-top moments didn't represent my personal best. No, the most strenuous minute I've ever filled came when I realized I would never attempt to best them.
For Lent, I’m giving up.
- Louie Giglio
That’s the pace I want to keep.
His perspective is our peace…