You might have already heard the shocking news that I turned fifty earlier this month. Turning fifty was a mind-blowing, cataclysmic event – half a century in the making. A violent upheaval that shook my world and left me achy, slow to get out of soft chairs, and just a (shrinking) semi-circle of gray away from bald. It was a sucker punch to my self-image. It knocked out any hope that the NFL would suddenly call and ask me to step in and save the day, or that I would wake up one morning to find myself gifted with Adult Onset Superpowers and have to race off to embark on a thrilling life of crime-fighting cosmic-adventures. Dazed from the ordeal, my mind has had to refocus onto more age appropriate things – like chewing my food slowly, handicapped ramps, and the senior discount at Fred Myers (first Tuesday of the month – it’s coming up folks).
Oh woe is me! My youth has been stripped from me and hung up to dry. Never to be worn again. Not by me. We are separated, divorced – as good as dead. This body I have been given in exchange is a poor substitute for the one I once wore. That one was tailored and snug, this one stretches and droops and collects in horrid, great folds, like an xxlrg suit on an xxsm manikin. And like that manikin, I now expect at any moment, from the slightest provocation, a limb (or my head) to drop off and hit the floor. Let’s hope I’m not at church, or driving, when that happens!
I would like to build a museum to that fine form that once was mine – a temple to the temple I wore – and the great deeds accomplished therein. But God does not want my mind focused on the things that once were. He does not want me always looking back, worshiping what is no longer. The past has gone, and taken with it the muscular young man I once knew. I am hereafter condemned to live out my life in this body of decay. My only hope now is in Christ.
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13, 14
It’s tempting to look back, and not just with dreamy eyes. The hurts and heart-aches and broken dreams that line the road we walked down, more often consume our minds then the good things we left behind. All the temples and museums I’ve ever built have been dedicated to the wrongs that others have done to me – including God. That’s where I go to receive my self-justification, and my self-righteousness. Why in the world would I ever give that up?
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20, 21
I guess if I’m intending on being a citizen in Heaven it’s probably time to stop focusing on things of the world and start looking forward to eternity. But it’s hard to let go of past glories – and it hurts to abandoned hurts. There is a price to pay for forgiveness – for letting go of a debt, absent of repayment. It just doesn’t seem fair. I would rather stomp my foot and refuse – until I consider how great a reward is the one that awaits us.
Me? I’m looking forward to having my “lowly body” transformed and made like Christ’s “glorious body.” Won’t that be great!?! I can’t wait to be strutting around in Heaven, showing off my new body – the suit that God tailored to fit me perfectly. I bet it will have NFL quality muscles and come with the ability to fly. I might even be able to shoot lasers out of my eyes – but I’m not sure about that. But what I do know for certain is that it will not be like this body I’m stuck with now. It will never grow old and it will never fail – I’ll be looking good for all of eternity. We all will.
Blessing and love!