I never thought I would be afraid of feeling good again.
For seven years, all I had known was physical pain, muscular weakness, and chronic fatigue. The daily battle against my flesh had become so regular that I almost forgot it was abnormal to feel what I felt. I hardly even noticed affliction anymore…until I began to feel better.
After one year of intense treatment for Lyme disease, my body has responded positively, and now I have days — even weeks — where I feel strong. Woah. The difference has been like night and day. I rejoice that I am able to exercise again, stay up until 9:00pm without feeling catatonic, and participate in activities that I could not enjoy one year ago.
Yet, I am afraid. I am afraid of forgetting.
I’m afraid of growing prideful in my newfound physical strength and somehow wandering from the Lord. I’m afraid of failing to grasp how much I need him, body and soul. I’m afraid that the faithfulness and works of my God, as seen so profoundly in this difficult season, will become seemingly less and less awesome as the days pass. I’m afraid that I will stray.
As hard as this time of physical affliction has been, the Lord has kept me dependent on his gospel in a unique way through it. Lyme disease has been my thorn in the flesh, to remind me that the all-surpassing power comes from God, that I am merely a jar of clay. He has used my very obvious weaknesses to bind me to himself.
And so I wonder, What will happen to me if I get better? Will I forget all that God has done? Will I forget how much I need him?
And so, I’m clinging to Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 12:10:
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Here, Paul lists a number of circumstances that God uses to keep believers clinging to his Son, the supplier of true strength. In other words, there will always be something to keep us dependent on Jesus and aware of our need for him.
Yes, physical weakness is included within this list, but this list is certainly not limited to it.
What is making you especially aware of your need for Christ and his gospel right now? What might God be wanting to use to show you your need and bind you to himself?
Is it a physical affliction, disease, or injury? Is it gospel-opposition from unbelieving friends, family members, or coworkers? Is it outright persecution of your faith? It is financial trouble, the loss of a job, or the passing of a loved one? Is it a battle against a particular pattern of sin? Is it the destruction of your property, the receiving of bad news, or heartache from a prodigal child?
Because of the gospel of his Son, we know that our Father will never let us go. We know that his work within us will not be finished until the day he calls us home. Christ has secured this promise for us.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above
So we needn’t be afraid of running independent of him for long; for when we begin to, out of the pride of our flesh, we know that God will delight to call us back to himself. He will graciously remind us of our need for his strength, and the gospel of our salvation will bind our wandering hearts to his.