“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 (NLT)
e do not have to literally climb the highest mountains, explore the furthest depths of the sea, or soar to the highest heights in order to live a full and happy life. Good news for those of us whose bodies place limits on these activities. So often during my illness I have felt that my life was slipping away, that I was missing out on all this world had to offer, because I was limited by my body and left waiting for my health to improve so that I could focus on something else. The problem with this was that I was missing out on my life, not because my health needed to improve so that I could experience life, but because my life was happening while I was “waiting” and I was discounting it.
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (Ephesians 3:12 NLT)
So, if looking at our own lives produces a distorted view of God, and we are not going to receive perfect clarity until the veil of this world is stripped away, then how can we experience God’s love in this lifetime and concurrently have a fulfilling life? When I was a kid, I loved “hidden messages.” A very common version of this was a message that was written backwards on a sheet of paper so that when it was held in a mirror, the true meaning of the jumbled-looking letters revealed itself. We can use this idea to unveil some of the love of God that resides in our own lives.
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4:7, 12 NLT)When we reach out to others in love, it is like we are holding up a mirror to the love of God that resides within us. For, if love comes from God, and we have love to give, then we must be loved by God. There are many ways to express love. With our altered bodies and altered lives, we might feel that we can no longer serve God through acts of love because of our pain, limited energy, or altered finances. But, God does not want us all to live and love in the same way. If everyone served at a soup kitchen, imagine all of the other areas that would be lost in need, including having someone produce and donate the food!
We can start by praying for others and keeping our eyes, ears, and hearts open for other ways to love that are within our God-given abilities. Some people write cards of encouragement, others provide a listening and supportive ear or email. Many people, during their illness, discover that they have skills that they were previously unable to explore, such as making a craft-item or developing their musical talents. Whatever unique ways to love lie within us, if we reach out with these skills, then we will find a clearer reflection of God’s love in our lives.
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” (Ephesians 3:16-18 NLT)
~This devotional was originally posted on my Sunroom Blog in February 2011~
- A devotional about starting fresh in this moment with a renewed understanding of God: Deep Breath. Start Fresh. Devotional.
- Daily devotionals for chronic illness and pain by Rest Ministries: http://chronicillnesspaindevotionals.wordpress.com/