9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
Since Chance the Rapper dropped four (FOUR) new singles last week, I thought it would be good to talk about faith again. It just seems right, especially given the circumstances of my life right now.
It has been a difficult month, I’ve watched friends lose loved ones, the threat of lost loved ones looms over others. I’ve spent time with friends for the last time in a while, I’ve suffered in private and in public and all these things hearken back to something I don’t remember as often as I should.
I should be spending much more time praising my Lord than I do.
This week, I returned from visiting my Godmother with my girlfriend. We just hopped up to say hello and I hadn’t seen her in some time, she’s been dealing with an autoimmune disease that was hard to identify and difficult to deal with. As I laid in her living room and spoke to her for a while when we arrived, I could do nothing but thank God that we are given the lives that we are given.
Some would say lucky.
I think I could agree to that, but it is so much more than simple luck. I’ve believed in a Creator since I could perceive the world around me. There is something to be said about the terrible things that happen, and I wish they wouldn’t.
I recognize that I am in a position of privilege when I see the chaos and destruction happening in the world around me. I recognize that blessing when I see people taken before their time, when I see tragedy without definite reason, I recognize that I am blessed beyond measure, and I can’t take that for granted.
My life, despite the struggles and the hardships, is so fully packed with new blessings every moment. I can’t count them all. They number more than the stars in the sky.
It’s a difficult thing to do, when we are suffering, to look to God and still worship him. To praise him. It’s so easy for us to say we should, because that thing isn’t happening to us, but is that the case? Can we praise God with the “me before you mindset?”
I don’t think so. Not truly, not wholly. I can thank God for every blessing I have, but when I thank Him by regarding the curses or sufferings upon the heads of others, am I not inherently disrespecting the body of the church? Am I not distracting myself from the reality that we are one body in Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
To pray and to say “Thank you for not putting me through that, Lord. I would never want that to happen to me.” Is disregarding this biblical teaching.
It’s something I find myself trapped within occasionally. It isn’t the subject of my prayer, but I’ve noticed often, that I find myself thankful to God that I don’t have some suffering, because others do. I am not thankful because it’s suffering and it’s horrible. I am thankful that the suffering in question has not afflicted me, without considering the implications. It’s a short-sighted thing to pray for, don’t you think?
In essence we are saying “Thanks for not cursing me, but cursing another.”
Because when we look at our hardships in that light, we disregard the purpose of hardship and struggle. That we are to see these things for a reason.
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
When we look to another, we see it as a curse, a plague upon someone that, while we can feel the pain of their suffering, we are still quietly glad that it isn’t us. Yet, if this is true, then why are we one body? If we are supposed to be separated in our faith, why would we silently celebrate the suffering of another? We suffer for a purpose.
I’ve been asked why I take so many things so personally over the course of my life, why am I so troubled about the pain in the lives of my friends? Why do I care so much, when someone is plagued by something that I can’t fix? Why is it that I shed tears for the dead that I don’t know?
It is because of this. I am one with them. Each of us, children of God. When your finger is broken, your arm feels the pain. When your neck is kinked, your whole back aches. When you are blind in one eye, your hands know not where to go.
1 Corinthians 12:15-20
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
I seek to praise God when my life is going the way I want it to. I seek to praise Him when my friends and my loved ones are in good health, with good faith I sing praises when the body is celebrating, when we are rejoicing and it is so easy to praise God in these moments.
But what of those with broken hands, shattered hearts, or infected brains?
Will we abandon the praises to God then? Because we are scared? Or is it because we are selfish? When the finger becomes infected, we don’t sever it from the hand to save the body. We apply ointment, we take time to seek it out, to care for the infection and heal it that our finger might be capable of writing once more.
The dreadful knowing that I am guilty of this, makes me tremble.
But the calm knowing that my Lord is bigger than it all, that He will see to it that we will be safe and protected, the reminder every moment that those in pain, those suffering, need me to remain steadfast more than ever before. Those in moments of plague and pestilence should not halt my praises to God. They should not stop the song from my heart. They should strengthen it.
Because we are one, fulfilled in Christ. We are wrapped in the arms of a God who cares for us all. We were never meant to be left alone, to wander in silence, with no one there to hold on to us.
We are connected, and when one of us feels pain so deeply it makes us shake, the rest of the body should shake along with that pain and let it lift our voices in praise.
Because we didn’t deserve this life. We were given it.
And in awe we tremble at the King who offered it to us.