Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rooted, Strengthened, Grounded...

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For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family* in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:14-19, ESV)

*Ephesians 3:15 Or from whom all fatherhood; the Greek word patria in verse 15 is closely related to the word for Father in verse 14

We took our youngest daughter to the pediatrician for a well child visit today and our fears were confirmed. She has cerebral palsy. When we adopted her we knew this was a good possibility since she suffered a brain injury at birth due to a placental abruption caused by repeated substance abuse from the birth mom. But it still rattled me. There was a sadness that sank into my heart for the struggles she will definitely face and for the physical limitations she will work hard to overcome. Our oldest daughter has CP as well, so we knew what we were getting into when we said yes. Still, watching your sweet baby be frustrated and feeling her tight little muscles struggle to stretch out is heart breaking.

Diagnosis is never easy. Even when you know it's coming, it still feels sad. I wish that our life with Christ would mean that we would be spared from hardship but it is not so. There is a false gospel teaching out right now that we should all be healthy, and wealthy, and wise....that we can live our "best life now." I'm not sure how any parent of a child who is disabled can tolerate that. I believe in healing, I believe in blessing, and I believe in wisdom. But I believe we were created for God's glory, and with eternity on our hearts.(Ecc. 3:11) We were not made for this life! This body is described in the Bible as a vapor or a mist, or as a temporary tent set up for a little while and then taken down.(James 4:14, 2 Corinthians 5:1) 2 Corinthians 5:4-6 goes on, "For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord." We were made for a heavenly dwelling, not a tent. 

With this broken and fallen world, there is also pain. Jesus himself tells us that in this world we will have trouble, but to take heart because he has overcome the world. (John 16:33) I am not a theologian or scholar, but I love and trust Jesus with my whole heart. So, I do my best to take heart and to lean into the Gospel and submit my heart's desires to God's will and glory. I read and re-read verses like Romans 8:22-28 which says, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Until my soul exudes this confidence, let God continue to work in my heart and mind.

It's times like these that I look to Scriptures like Ephesians 3. The Gospel transforms lives. The power of the Resurrection of Christ is meant to give a fullness and abundance to our lives despite trials and tribulations. They are unavoidable, but a faith secure in the love of Christ can overcome the fears and sorrows that accompany life on this fallen existence. His love roots and grounds us. We can be strengthened in our inner being, by the Spirit.

That's what I need today. Perhaps you do as well? 

Prayer "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

~Kimberly M. Drew