I tend to be an idealist, even as I wrestle with imperfection and fragility. There is a longing to make all things better, even as we live in a broken world.
I remember listening to a TV pastor we enjoyed watching and having an unusual moment. Even he said this was out of his character, but he said, “I feel someone is watching who needs to start loving their body.”
How that resonated with me, for I have had a love/hate relationship with my body, so frustrated when it doesn’t cooperate, struggling with ailments since I was a little girl. We all desire to feel well, to function optimally.
My prayer has often been, “please give me wisdom to live well.” And I have felt and experienced God’s presence and provision over and over again, even as I have pushed through and done challenging things. These moments have filled me with joy and gratitude.
I often think of the apostle Paul who also asked God to remove his suffering, or thorn in the flesh as he called it. But the answer was no. I’ve been pondering this verse from Romans 5:3-5, which says: 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Another translation uses the word perseverance instead of endurance.
Sometimes I get caught in the “endurance” part, and focus on fighting with my body and my mind. I’m challenged to not give up, to focus on Jesus who loves me, to accept the challenges that come my way, even as I ask for wisdom to live with them, to even overcome them.
I have much compassion and empathy for those who suffer. Perhaps that is the gift. We do live in a broken world and long for redemption, for relief. So today, I pray for all who suffer, for those who are struggling, for those who grieve. I pray for those who are living with the atrocities of war, living in terror and fear. I pray for those who live with addictions and don’t know how to break that powerful cycle. I pray for all of us, who live with fragility, yet know we have assurance of a God who loves us, who knows us well.