One of our friends works in a spinal injuries unit. She was talking about the challenges of caring for those who’ve experienced such trauma: and said something very striking. Out of all of those on the ward, she said, it’s often the patients with the worst injuries who are most joyful and most hopeful. Shocked, we asked why and she said: ‘it’s obvious, really. They’ve come closest to death: and they’re just grateful to be alive.’
Each person has a different story and a different response to suffering. But the contrast is incredible: the quadriplegic who thanks God for the gift of breath. And the healthy, who see only what’s lacking.
Truth it seems, can be a matter of perspective.
This is something I’ve seen first-hand. For years I’ve hated my body and exercised it into submission. I figured it was indestructible: and starved it to a shadow. By God’s grace, I started to recover – but whilst many bits did get better, there are parts that never will. And I’ve come full circle. Instead of hating my body, I wonder at its intricacy: the fingers that can stroke and flex and grip and curl. The soft belly and the curves that keep me warm. The heart and the lungs and the lips and the nose. I thank God for every bit. And I’m thrilled to be taking up space. Before, I could only see what was missing: now, I’m starting to appreciate what I’ve got.
As Christians, we are a rescued people. Before we knew Jesus we were dead and alone; now we live – and we’re filled with His Spirit. Our deliverance defines us: and it changes the nature of our world. Each of us face different struggles. For some it’s an emergency room or an unexpected diagnosis. For others, it’s loneliness, fear or grief. But whatever the week holds, Jesus is with us. Whatever we’re missing, He is more.