I’m emerging from a brutally hard season in life. But even as I emerge with my feet on more solid ground than I’ve felt in a long time, I still face a life that, like many of my cohorts from Bible college, wasn’t the one I envisioned as an earnest Christian teenager in youth group and then college. And no amount of peeling off layers of myself to get to my core heart is going to rescue me from the twists and turns my story has taken.
Don’t hear fatalism in that last sentence. Like the woman diagnosed with terminal cancer, there’s a precious jewel hidden in the layers of suffering and self-sacrifice with what seems a permanent blight on one’s life. Among other issues, I struggle with multiple chronic illnesses. Though death is certainly not imminent, I think of spiritually dying to self as I face more and more physical issues that evidence the fact that my physical self is in fact dying. I am a jar of clay. Unlike a hard marriage or family relationship or ministry commitment, I can’t escape these physical symptoms no matter how hard I try. I can’t run from them, so I have to face them head on and figure out how to live abundantly in light of them.
And that learning has equipped me to persevere in the other issues in my life I could run from if I didn’t feel constrained by God’s instructions through his Word.