Let’s say tonight something supernatural happens. As I am in deep sleep, my snore is reverberating throughout the room. Meanwhile, my body starts coming to life. Sensation starts to run up and down my arms and legs as I slowly come out of sleep. My brain starts to comprehend what is occurring and I begin to bend my fingers and wiggle my toes. “It’s really happening,” I think to myself as excitement continues to build.
I start to move around, realizing what I’m now capable of. I sit up and look around at my functioning body, now fully awake and ready to take on the day. I hop out of bed and stroll into the shower for the first dose of hot water I can feel trickling down my body in six years.
The possibilities would be endless.
But first of course, I would kick the wheelchair to the curb.
Would that be awesome? Absolutely.
For six years I’ve held onto hope that one way or another, that day will come. It used to consume me as a 21-year-old desperate to get back to college life.
While the belief still remains, over time it has become less of a priority. I’m realizing now more than ever that my ultimate hope is not in walking again.
There’s a verse that I have been focusing on lately, which may seem obscure at first glance:
“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.” (Acts 13:36)
David is one of the heroes of the Bible. Esteemed King. Great conqueror of the giant Goliath. The Bible states that he “fulfilled his purpose” and was a man after God’s heart. I sure would like that to be my epitaph. Yet, despite all the amazing things he saw, did, and conquered, this man’s life still came to an end. He still died. His body went into the ground. And it decayed.
Mine will do the same.
Recently I experienced the first weekend of 2015 where I was actually able to be sitting up in my chair for the entire weekend, rather than spending at least part of a day in bed. It was amazing not spending one more afternoon staring at this:
On top of that, I have been pretty excited about just about everything going on right now. This summer I got engaged. I’m having a great time with the high school guys who meet at my house on Sundays. I’m back up in my chair. I’m nearing graduation from the University of Cincinnati.
All this, and yet my physical status will just not improve. I’m immobile, my muscles are tight and uncomfortable, I’m sleep deprived, and the majority of time I’m stuck inside while it’s a nice, sunny fall day outside.
The fact is, nothing’s ever going to be perfect on this earth.
Even if I get miraculously healed tomorrow- as exciting as that would be- I would not be immune to another car accident, debilitating sickness, or, at the very least, growing old and losing the impossible battle of sustaining my physical body over time.
Regardless of the state of my physical body, as long as I’m on this earth I’m still going to experience pain. I’m going to experience loss. I’m going to experience heartbreak.
If you’re staring at your device thinking, “Wow…what a depressing way to look at life,” bear with me. I’ve actually found great hope in this.
I can almost hear Jesus’s good friend John reassuring me I have even greater reason for hope: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:14)
There is just no getting around the fact that my physical body will eventually end up decaying in the ground. If I jump out of bed tomorrow with fully functioning legs and my circumstances continue to be smooth sailing, it is still going to come to an end.
That’s too small a thing to put my hope in.
However, I take great comfort in knowing that I will one day live again fully in the presence of Jesus. On this day there will be no more pain. No more sickness. No more tears.
No matter how good stuff gets here on earth, it’s not even going to come close to that.
Maybe that’s why we have to endure hardship during this short life. To make sure we don’t get too comfortable. To make sure we don’t mistake this earth for our true home.
Nothing’s going to be perfect in this lifetime, but one day it will be. As the song below alludes to, there will be a day when I’ll come face to face with my Creator and everything will be made right.
Now that’s something worth putting my hope in.
Contact info: Ryan.S.Atkins@Gmail.com
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