Better Than Ever

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16

Mankind was God’s crowning achievement in creation, yet we, like everything else in this universe, were profoundly affected by the introduction of sin from the fall of Adam and Eve. It’s hard to believe two weeks have passed already since I stood on our driveway, hugging my mom and weeping after she shared her cancer diagnosis. I’m reminded of it every time I take a step these days and feel the sharp daggers of pain shooting up my legs - things are not the way they were meant to be.

Yet, despite these sometimes difficult realities, in Christ we have hope. Why? There are plenty of reasons - at the top of the list is the fact that in Christ our sins have been washed clean and our relationship with God has been restored. We know that we have an eternal home in heaven where all pain, suffering, and loss will be gone forever. How about here on earth? When we’re in Christ we know despite our physical bodies slowly (or quickly in some cases) falling apart, spiritually we’re becoming more like Jesus each and every day.

That process may not be easy; in fact it often happens through some of the hardest, difficult, and “impossible” situations of our lives. Today is September 11th - countless lives were touched by the tragedy of that day, including Lisa Beamer, wife of Todd Beamer, one of the heroes who fought back against the terrorists on United Flight 95. Lisa had this to say about the way God works in our lives:

“Slowly I began to understand that the plans God has for us don’t just include “good” things, but the whole array of human events … I remember my mom saying that many people look for miracles — things that in their human minds “fix” a difficult situation. Many miracles, however, are not a change to the normal course of human events; they’re found in God’s ability and desire to sustain and nurture people through even the worst situations. Somewhere along the way, I stopped demanding that God fix the problems in my life and started to be thankful for his presence as I endured them.”

Today’s devotional comes from Our Daily Bread and is titled “Better Than Ever.” The author Dave Branon writes about the inevitable decay we experience in our physical bodies - and the incredible spiritual renewal we can experience when we’re following Jesus, no matter how old we are! He writes:

What’s true of buildings is also true of us. Our bodies, like this old church (the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris), will eventually look a bit worse for wear! But as the apostle Paul explains, there’s good news: while we might gradually lose the physical vibrancy of youth, the core of who we are—our spiritual being—can be continually renewed and growing (2 Corinthians 4:16).

I’m not going to even try to pretend this process is comfortable, easy, or at times utterly baffling and/or painful. I think the process of learning to trust the Lord and surrendering control of our lives to him has to be one of the most difficult - but rewarding - experiences in life. I think for the vast majority of us it’s likely something that slowly unfolds over the span of our lives. It’s worth it though - because in the end we’ll be “better than ever!”