I am learning that real life, a miraculous and full life, usually happens outside of the plans and boundaries I think life is contained in, but when I am under it, I can’t always see it. I’m still tempted to ask WHY when the tragedy, sickness and pressure occurs although I am recovering faster now. I’ve been through enough experiences that seemed hopeless only to see them reverse and I marvel at how precisely and amazingly I or someone I love is delivered when I look behind me with perspective. Even in those situations where circumstances didn’t change, grace and peace rush in to fill the gap left by devastation.
So when my wife Lesley (who already has a weakened immune system due to chemotherapy) had to be rushed into the emergency room for the second time in a week and all the doctors had no clue as to why she had high fevers, nausea, vomiting, and severe migraines for several days, I didn’t ask God why. I kept my peace knowing “this too shall pass”.
Jesus addressed the question of WHY with his disciples revealing God’s take on sickness, brokenness and tragedy. When the disciples saw the man born blind ( John 9) they asked why. They assumed he was disabled out of judgment. They asked if he did something wrong or his parents. Jesus’ response was revolutionary and still is. Any disability, lack, tragedy or sickness exists ( from God’s perspective) so that his glory can be revealed in meeting the need and restoring people. I am not saying he causes the negative situation, I am saying regardless of why it happens, it is not an obstacle for him in revealing his glory. Jesus revealed the glory of God with a HUMAN touch that restored the man physically and spiritually.
Joseph (coat of many colors fame) said it this way to his own brothers who beat him and sold him into slavery. “ What you intended for evil, God intended for good”. I am sure it took Joseph some time to gain that perspective. It seems to me that every difficult situation and circumstance can be viewed under these two paradigms. The first one is a false understanding that we are being judged and God who is good is blamed for the cancer, death or other calamity. God has already made his judgment concerning you and me, he has judged us righteous in Christ. We may incur consequences for our actions (or not), but not his judgment. The second one is that regardless of how devastating the situation we find ourselves in, God can and will reveal his glory.
Lesley is out of the hospital today after a week’s stay this time, and at home resting, so my vantage point is clearer as I look back. In my heart and mind I slow down to consider how God’s glory was revealed. Just like the man born blind, glory was revealed by HUMAN touch. Jesus the great physician touched my wife with HUMAN hands, and it didn’t matter to him if they were believers or unbelievers. His glory was revealed when he incarnated himself in our friend Dr. Scott Lee who is a world class doctor with a ridiculous schedule. Dr. Lee stopped everything to come and comfort and to consult with her doctors and pray. God’s glory was revealed through friends like Laura, Melanie, Kimberly, Cheri, Diana and Judi who cooked meals for my family or sat for hours holding Lesley’s hands and loved her while I was at work. The glory of God was revealed when Michelle and Stephanie came over and cleaned my house with human hands. The glory of God was revealed when family called or hopped on a plane to come help.
Christ did not come to demonstrate to us how to live Godly, but to demonstrate how to be really human. The incarnation ( God in HUMAN flesh) happens 24/7 through his body, through human touch. “Our humanity is not an obstacle to spiritual living but the conduit; you are not an earthly being looking for spirituality to save, change, rescue, complete, compensate or escape you but you are a whole, perfect and complete being wanting to experience and express it in the context of the human reality and condition. ( Jim Palmer)
I got emotional as I drove into work today listening to Hillsong’s “I will Rise”, because I was appropriating for myself and claiming for my wife, the resurrection power and life giving touch of the perfect HUMAN for the future and giving thanks for his glory revealed during this last week through his body.