When I was in fourth grade, I did something that I’m not proud of. I got a perm. I was sick of my straight hair and wanted curls – glorious, beautiful curls! My hair was already pretty short, but I was convinced that curls would look great. My parents reluctantly took me to get my hair permed. It was what I always wanted…until it was done. I looked in the mirror at my 80’s afro and wondered why in the world my parents let me get a perm.
It was terrible. I looked like a clown. I hate clowns. They scare me. My hair scared me.
Random story, I know. The Apostle Paul was good at that too. In the middle of talking about marriage and how we are supposed to treat each other, Paul makes this comment about our bodies: “No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of His body (Ephesians 5:29-30, NLT).”
I loved my hair. It was a pretty light brown that would get red highlights in the summer when I played outside. I still love my hair, but I hated what the hairdresser did to my hair! I hated the effect that the perm had on my beautiful locks. It turned something beautiful into something I’d rather forget about forever.
I think it’s the same way with chronic illness. We love our bodies, we really do. We want them to be strong and healthy and attractive. That’s why we see countless doctors, try numerous diets and supplements, and (for the ladies) buy makeup to cover our imperfections. We don’t hate our bodies; we love them. What we hate is what sickness does to our bodies. We hate the effect that medications have on our bodies and the side effects we have to deal with.
Paul is right. We feed and care for our bodies as best as we know how, in an effort to be as healthy as we can possibly be, but Paul doesn’t stop there. He says that we take care of our bodies “just as Christ cares for the church.” Think about all of the time and effort we put into taking care of our bodies. Think of all of the time and effort others (doctors, nurses, family, friends…) put into taking care of our bodies. Jesus puts that same kind of care (only better) into taking care of His body; and Paul tells us that “we are members of His body.”
Let’s review: We don’t really hate our bodies; we love our bodies. We take care of our bodies just like Jesus cares for the church. We are members of His body.
What does this tell us? It tells us that Jesus really, really loves us! Jesus is taking care of us. Yes, we are sick, but one day He will wipe every tear from our eyes and there will be no more pain. For some, it may happen here on earth, but for others, it will be on that sweet day when we see Jesus face to face. But it will happen. I promise you, one day this will all be a distant memory. I trust we will have the opportunity to see how God used our sickness for His glory, and we will be thankful.
Today will you take time to thank God, praise God, and give glory to Him? He longs to hear how much you love Him!
“O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted You, O Lord, from childhood. Yes, You have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb You have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you! My life is an example to many, because You have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare Your glory all day long.” -Psalm 71:5-8, NLT
© April 23, 2013