Wednesday, August 13, 2014

God Subverts Pain

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 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.
2 Corinthians 5:1-5

Since it is God's expressed purpose for His children to one day trade in their mortal bodies for immortal, heavenly ones, it makes perfect sense that He would subvert the pain of death and growing old (which is brought on by our sin) to His own purposes such that even this pain would cause us to groan more longingly for heaven. The aches and pains of growing old can little-by-little help tear us away from our attachment to this earth and to these earthly bodies. The frustration and discomfort we feel can actually serve as fuel to cause us to long all the more intensely for heaven and for our resurrection bodies.

The simple truth is that we cannot receive our heavenly bodies until we have first been stripped of these earthly bodies. Some believers lose their life and vitality in a moment. Others endure long drawn out battles with pain, sickness, and death. The slow tearing away of a person's health and vitality, as terrible as it is, can be used for the Christian's good if he will trust God. It can be that the crippled man's daily hardship serves as a reminder that no one will be crippled in heaven. His disability can actually be a spiritual asset. Paul the apostle struggled with a "thorn in the flesh." Paul found peace after God revealed to him that God's strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Your physical disability, your physical suffering, can be the weakness that God uses to work His strength in your life to focus your spirit all the more intently on heaven.

So the next time you want to curse that bad knee or bad back or even that reoccurring cancer, don't. Accept it as from the Lord. Let God work it to your good. Instead of groaning, "Why, Lord!?" Groan, "When, Lord? Oh, when will I be free of these troublesome pains in heaven with you?" Let His strength be made perfect in your weakness. 

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