Today’s Reading: I Corinthians 15:35 – 58
About 12 years ago I reconnected with my former director from earlier days with Youth For Christ. That particular day sticks in my mind in that we were getting together after being out of contact for a few years. During that lunch I heard that he had had some heart issues and his health was not what it should be. I remember sitting there thinking how distant the topic was to me. He was in his late 40’s and I was just 36 or so. He seemed so much older than I. His health issues seemed so distant and incomprehensible. Sure, I was (and still am) overweight (personally I prefer the term “under tall”), but I felt healthy and invincible. I remember that in those days I always thought of myself as strong like a bear, not old and not close to death.
Now 12 years later my human fragility is screaming at me. If there is one thing that 2010 has taught me is that my generation and I are on a physical downhill path. For my younger readers, reading this post may be your memory, like my above mentioned conversation, when you think “wow, Plim is older and frail and it is so distant from where I am today.”
In the Spring I wrote a post “What should I pray?“about four people I know who had been diagnosed with cancer. There were all within 10 years or so of me. Since that time, three have gone through treatment and are either recovered or in remission. Unfortunately, one of the four died a few weeks ago leaving a husband and two teenagers. I was able to attend the funeral and found it strange that the music played were all pop songs from the early 80’s. Songs of my generation – it makes sense since she was only 1 year older than me – but it felt too close.
As mentioned in a post last month “2010 – A year to be challenged”, my wife’s brother suddenly died. He was only 11 years older than me. Leaving a wife, a son and a granddaughter has been hard on the family. My wife is helping out and is sharing how hard it is to deal with a death so early in life.
To compound my sense of being middle aged and frailer, I have had some nagging physical aliments this year. My body is wearing down, my joints are sore, my hair is graying and my skin getting wrinkled. At times, especially, during the three weeks I was on my back in October for a sprained sacral iliac joint I can get downright depressed about the ageing vessel I have become.
But as I read today’s reading I was encouraged. As I read it I immediately thought of my friend and his recently deceased wife. She was diagnosed, treated, suffered and died in a matter of 5 months. I know it was hard to see her go through that. Somehow I wished that these verses could have been shared with everyone at the funeral…
1 Corinthians 15:42 – 44 (NLT)
43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.
The good news from our reading is that these decrepit, decaying, overweight/under-tall, weak, broken down, wrinkled, achy, pain ridden, weathered and imperfect bodies are only ours for our time here on earth. We won’t take them and all their imperfections into heaven. In heaven there is a perfect spiritual body waiting for us.
We can thank the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for making this possible. It is through his covering of our sins that makes the fact that we will be in heaven, in perfect spiritual bodies, in the presence of God possible.
1 Corinthians 15:54 – 57 (NLT)
54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.