Friday, December 23, 2016
In Whose Strength Are You Serving?
"If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."
~1 Peter 4:11b
I read a really good book recently. It was called, Pursuing Health in an Anxious Age, by Cutillo. The book, in general, is about considering the whole person when the need for medical care arises; body and soul. It is a really good read especially for people like us who do much dealing with the medical field because of our life circumstances. I want to quote from it because it really helped open my eyes to God's sovereignty and goodness over our bodies.
"Medicine can also help people to learn to live in and through their bodies, teaching the limits of the body and the wisdom that comes from accepting those limits. Aging will not be seen as a disorder to be corrected but as a time of adjustment for continued growth as we face increasing limitations as part and parcel of our being embodied living creatures. Likewise, the restrictions of imperfect bodies will not be viewed as automatic barriers to full life but as possible means through which life is found--and sometimes taught only by those who are living it. As one father said when taking his daughter with spina bifida to a father-daughter dance, 'It's harder for me....than it is for Michelle. She has a blast!' I look around and say 'What a tragedy that she can't do that.' She says, 'Come on, let's dance, Dad.'" Helping people to dance should be one of the good purposes of medicine"
(Pursuing Health in an Anxious Age, Cutillo, pg 159).
Helping people to dance, in their own body, considering their own limitations, helping them to live full lives for the glory of Christ should be our aim and goal. This was eye opening for me. I am still undiagnosed but endure severe limitations on my body. At times this "illness" plagues me so terribly I can barely make my legs take me to the kitchen to prepare food. It is not constant thankfully because I heal and my legs work perfectly fine after the flare-up is over, but in those times of a flare up, I would usually get angry and curse my limitations. I had the wrong mindset. Instead, I should direct my mind to the One and Only who controls all things.
He is the One I can trust. He knows what this "illness" is called. He enters into my pain and suffering and I share in His. I must direct my mind toward Him and His greater purposes in it. His promises are abundant toward the sufferer. Instead of lamenting the "I can'ts," I should focus on the "I cans". When this mystery "illness" hits, I get to rest. I don't really have a choice. I can choose how I use my time. I can rest in the love of my Father or stew in my self-pity party over it happening again.
Those of us with limitations need to take the mindset of accepting what we can do. In the Scripture above, God says to serve in the strength that He provides. I don't have to muster up the strength, it is God who provides it. So for someone like me, strength may be minimal on one day and massive on another. Instead of fretting over what kind of day it will be, I can choose to glory in the place that God has me. It is all a gift and from Him. He does not expect more of me than the strength He provides! I am learning to live within these limits.
When I try to live beyond the strength God provides, that is only moving into pride and self-sufficiency. When I do that, I am not following His instructions and in my disobedience, there are often many bad consequences that occur; specifically from not treating my body well. It is much easier to submit to His given strength but I am stubborn. I need help in this area and this book has really opened my eyes and encouraged me to live for His glory in whatever strength He gives for a certain day. There is Sabbath rest in that. It takes the pressure off.
If you struggle with this as well, I am saying a prayer for you right now. If you don't, I hope it encourages you and that you will pray for me. Overall, may it help us all better understand the concerns of the weak so we can better serve them.
Pray: Father, thank you for opening my eyes to the necessity of resting in you. You are the giver of strength. Help us all work within the limits that you have given. Help us to do all things for your glory. In Jesus Name. Amen.