Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Glorifying God in the "Deaths" of our Pain and Illness

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death”
(Philippians 1:20).

Although I love the fall, I experience mixed feelings during this season. I enjoy the beautiful colors and crisp days, but I physically feel the effects of the colder weather and know that winter is coming. A statement from one of my daughter’s friends impacted me greatly: “I wonder if fall is God’s way of inviting us to consider that the deaths he calls us to can be beautiful” (Alex Kirk).

This thought spoke to me in several ways. One relates to my physical death. When I die I will experience the wonders of my eternal heavenly home and perfect body. But I also realized that these words can apply to my current earthly life. Right now I am surrounded with trees whose leaves are a blaze of color. Yet those leaves will eventually drop off, die, and never return. The trees will appear to be dead but next spring there will be new buds growing in to new leaves. They will not be the same leaves, but they will be beautiful and useful in their own way. Sometimes I feel I am dying to things daily - hopes, dreams, activities, and abilities. I may have periods of what seem to be “deadness”. Yet I can accept these deaths willingly, believing God will bring new buds of purpose to my life - different leaves than before but still beautiful and useful to Him.

There is some sadness in any death, but the deaths that we die due to our pains and illnesses are not the end. As I see the peak of fall’s beauty and then the deadness that follows, I want to remember that a new spring will come. Rather than bringing hopelessness and despair, the deaths I yield to God can and will bring new beauty and glory to Him, now and in eternity.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I allow each death I die to bring glory and honor to You. Amen.