At the beginning of time, God created man and woman in His image. They were created as whole, blameless and perfect beings, devoid of the curse of sin. But when the curse entered humanity through sin, brokenness entered too: sickness and disease, broken, incomplete and scarred bodies, minds and souls.
Two years ago today I sat at my Mum’s bedside, beholding a broken body, ravaged by the hold of one of the most deadly forms of cancer, glioblastoma multiforme. My Mum had breathed her very last breath on earth.
In a matter of mere weeks, we as a family, had watched a lively, exuberant, energized and beautiful 59-year old wife, mother and grandmother be broken apart by a cancer that would steal her ability to walk, then move, then speak, then smile, then wink and finally swallow. As I bathed her each day, with the help of a hospice nurse, I watched her body deteriorate before me, each and every day.
No. Our bodies and minds are not whole. On this earth the curse of sin has and will continue to break us, just as it did my beautiful mother. But in Christ, our broken bodies and minds carry a Spirit of Hope within. An assurance of redemption, of restoration, of wholeness:
John 6: 35 – 40 (MSG, my emphasis)
35-38 Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
39-40 “This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life,eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”
In less than five months my mother’s body was broken unto death by the curse of sin. But from the moment she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Saviour, her heart was being transformed for that very moment of death. Each and every day until the end, she was held. Each and every day, she was carried forward into a greater Hope. In my entire life, I have never ever felt such palpable peace upon a person, as I did upon my Mum in those final weeks. Yes, her body and mind were being torn apart, yet the Spirit of Christ was alive and whole within her, preparing her for the moment her body would breathe its last and she would meet her Maker face-to-face: whole and complete before the throne of God.
So, if you are struggling today with physical, mental or even spiritual affliction, remember what Scripture promises, remember the Hope of Glory that you carry within, remember that Christ is holding you tight and not about to let you go:
2 Corinthians 4: 7 – 18 (NASB)
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but notforsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.
13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is[e]spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet ourinner man is being renewed day by day.17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
I am releasing a book about my journey in and through suffering into God’s mighty arms on May 14th (Mother’s Day: in honor of my Mum,who passed into heaven on April 8th 2014, and God’s shining Light in her). For more information about Love Embraced: A Journey in and through Suffering, head on over to my author’s Facebook Page. My dear friend Emily Stephenson is also promoting the book with beautiful handmade jewelry, inspired by #LoveEmbraced. Below is an example of what you can find at The Wildflower Heart: