We are fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s not uncommon to feel betrayed when something goes wrong with a body system or part. We also realize, or remember, two very important truths about our bodies.
One afternoon about a decade ago, I bent over to pick up a candy wrapper someone had left on the couch, and couldn’t stand back up.
Our bodies are fragile.
My back would not straighten, and the pain of trying was intense. I was sidelined for a while, with a disc that had pushed its way where it didn’t belong. Unlike most backs that shoot a disc out of place one side or the other, mine tore the ligament at its toughest point, in the center. There were things I simply couldn’t do, and others I wasn’t supposed to so my body could heal. All from a candy wrapper?!? It seemed ridiculous. But that didn’t change the reality.
How many of us have a similar story? Something small had a large effect. Maybe it was something profound, but it happened in an instant, like a car accident. Then there are the things that build slowly, that go unnoticed until they’re undeniable.
With as much as the human body and mind can endure, they can also be easily broken. Viruses and bacteria make us sick, can even kill. We stub a toe. Sprain an ankle. Break an arm. Throw out a back. Our eyesight fails. Physical and emotional trauma irrevocably changes our body, our mind. Organs, cells, and synapses go haywire. Diabetes. Cancer. Psychosis.
Our bodies are AMAZING.
When something isn’t working the way it’s supposed to, we can’t help but recognize how amazing it is that so much can work together so well more often than not. Saturday I was knocked down by my ear’s failure to properly drain. My Eustachian tube was blocked. It can be painful when my eardrum is inverted, but Saturday was just the dizziness. It didn’t take me long in the morning to realize that I wasn’t getting much done that day. Do you know how many things need to work together so you can walk around and negotiate your day, upright? An imbalance of fluid in one ear, and I’m knocked flat.
Do you ever stop and think about how amazing our ears are, and how incredibly they work with our brains? Those funny, fleshy things on the sides of our head are just the external parts that allow us to better capture the vibrations of sound waves in the air and transfer them to our eardrums, which vibrate in time. The vibrations are amplified by three tiny bones. Further inside the ear, fluid moves in response to the vibrations, activating thousands of nerve endings that activate electrical impulses. The impulses travel to the brain which interprets the signals as sound. And if taking movements in the air and making them meaningful and useful weren’t enough, the ear also lets us know what’s up and down.
The functionality of the ear is just one small aspect of our extraordinary ordinary.
Here’s something else important thing to remember, but difficult to accept:
Our health, or our… otherwise… are perfect.
Fearfully and wonderfully…
Good health isn’t guaranteed. We must use it to its fullest to fulfill God’s will and, when it fails, we need to trust. Any deficit from our perspective is also part of God’s plan. When our abilities are altered, we need to find the new shape of our service. Maybe you’re finding yourself sidelined at the moment, unable to keep up your typical pace or perform at the level to which you’re accustomed. Take the opportunity of being slowed to listen. If we can think, we can pray. And there will never be a shortage of people and circumstances in need of intercession.
So, what about the times when brains go sideways, when we can’t think anywhere near straight? God does not turn His back on us. He is there even when we can’t feel Him, even when we feel like He has rejected us.
God is never limited by what we can’t do. In fact, when we admit we can’t we can get out of the way and let Him work through us.
One thing I’ve learned through my own struggles is that grace remains. As dark as my mind can be, as far from God and hopeless and beyond grace as I feel, He’s still working. I survive. And am equipped to be His witness.
Once I was lost… but now… I may forget that I’m FOUND, but God never lost sight of me.
There will always be those who need our care.
Let’s face it. Society doesn’t know what to do with those who seemingly can’t contribute, those who will always be different, those who can’t be stronger or quicker, those who cannot care for themselves. How is dependency part of God’s plan?
Really, dependency is God’s plan. Illusions of self-sufficiency keep us from fully experiencing life as God intended.
You’re amazing. But you’re finite. You have a purpose, and it has nothing to do with thinking you can get through life without God and others.
Every life has purpose. A person doesn’t even have to be conscious to have purpose. Weakness provides the opportunity for servanthood, to serve and be served. Truth is, we’re all weak, and we all need others to effectively get through life. The helpless provide an unavoidable opportunity to serve selflessly and love unconditionally.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14, NIV
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