A Full Physical Life

On my walk this morning, I looked for evidence of death and life, side by side. I'm inserting a few of the examples I found.

On my walk this morning, I looked for evidence of death and life, side by side. I’m inserting a few of the examples I found.

The verse-of-the-day on Bible Gateway yesterday was Isaiah 46:4. “I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you” (NLT).

The phrase about white hair made it feel personal, since mine is moving progressively from pepper-and-salt to salt-and-pepper. Every time I get it cut, there are more white trimmings on the floor, reminding me that time, marching on, isn’t just changing my children’s bodies, it’s changing mine. Through my 20s and 30s I was generally able to ignore the truth that I live in a body that is decaying, a body that will eventually give up its hold on life, but now? Not so much. The knees ache when I walk down leaves near treestairs; the belly has firmly decided it likes curves better than straight planes; my head still wants to look over my shoulder, but my stiff neck vetoes the idea nearly every time. I tell my children that I exercise so I can keep up with them, but I know the time is very soon coming when their growing strength will far outstrip my failing energy.
dew on leavesThat’s, honestly, a little sobering. My husband, parents, siblings, friends–we’re all on the downhill side of life’s timeline. Diet and exercise can only do so much, can’t actually stave off the inevitable (no matter what Tony Horton says). But God remains the same. Yesterday, today, forever, 50 years ago, next week, a millennium hence–no change. The Amplified translates Isaiah 46:4 this way: “Even to your old age I am He, And even to your advanced old age I will carry you!  I have made you, and I will carry youBe assured I will carry you and I will save you.”
ok--this one doesn't exactly fit what I was looking for--but these blossoms were so intricate!

ok–this one doesn’t exactly fit what I was looking for–but these blossoms were so intricate!

The spiritual meaning of that verse is beautiful and truer than its physical meaning. But yet I take great comfort in knowing that when I am reduced to hobbling, to sitting, to a curled-up lying on a bed–He will carry me. He will be with me. He will continue the work He has begun in me and through me. I will not be useless–because of Him.

I take great comfort, too, in the assurance that He will save us from these decaying bodies. Near the end of summer I learned of the deaths of a high school friend and a former student at the school where I work. In the midst of grieving, we take comfort in knowing they are spiritually and emotionally alive with a fullness we cannot conceive.
It is an incredible comfort to know they are physically alive as well. They left behind their old byellow on brownodies–bodies that were gradually dying. With Liz‘s cancer battle, this was obvious, but even though an accident took Chase’s life in the full prime of young womanhood, both were dying well before the cancer diagnosis and the accident drastically sped up the process. But NOW they are in fully alive bodies that don’t contain even a hint of death. When their loved ones are reunited with them, they will recognize them physically!
I came that you might have life,” Christ told us–tells us. Spiritual life–yes! But also physical–in bodies that will be continually renewed–that will LIVE in ways we’ve never experienced.  No aches, no pains, no fear of sickness or illness or death. No slowing down, no shortness of breath, no enhanced sense of gravity! Just life, pure, abundant, full, never ending, always flowing.
He is and will be our God–carrying and saving us through this lifetime. He is and will be our God, our source of life, for all eternity.
                                                                                      Here’s to LIFE.

Wisdom

“Homecoming is special because we’re all home-going—and this allows us to check in along the way.”

We just finished homecoming week at Wheaton Academy, and that quote (said by Greg Cox) summed this one up for me. For the first time I experienced the Academy’s homecoming as a writer rather than as a teacher. I still chaperoned at the square dance/hoedown Saturday night (fun), but I also interviewed a 1947 grad who spoke on bioet

Photo by Judy Wen

hics in the advanced biology class; I talked for more than an hour with the two alumni of the year; and I met, face-to-face, all the former teachers I interviewed this summer while preparing for a different article. I also had the privilege of going to the alumni worship service Sunday morning. While some of the alum there were around my age, most graduated in the 40s and 50s. I could have listened to them talk all day long.

One former teacher (I actually taught with her) told me about her struggles following retirement. “I felt like I’d lost purpose. I asked myself, ‘What am I doing?’ Then I learned this truth: I still have the same job, to serve Jesus. That didn’t change. The only thing that changed was how I did it.”

I met a woman who cares for a very ill husband. Her days are spent dispensing medicines and aiding him in getting around. But she had a smile on her face. The hardest thing, she says, “is watching him suffer,” but she’s seeing how God is being glorified through it, and that helps.

Another former teacher (I taught with her as well) just had to place her husband in assisted living. But rather than talk about that, she wanted to spend our time together encouraging me.

They’re going home. They’re not there yet—this is not it. That recognition changes everything. It gives them purpose. These are forward-gazing people. They have looked back and seen the hand of God in their lives. Through heart attacks and strokes, through lost loved ones and errant children, through financial highs and very low lows, they have learned that God is a constant companion. He never fails, He never forsakes. He always keeps His promises.

And when they “check in” with each other on their home-going way, these are the things they remind each other of. These are the things they reminded ME of. “Hang on. He’s faithful. Call out to Him. He’s there. We’ve seen it. We’ve lived it.”

“Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you.” Isaiah 46:4 (Amplified)

Soli deo Gloria!