Whether you and I are eight, eighteen, or eighty; we will encounter physical infirmity – short term illness or recovery from injury, or perhaps a long-term medical condition that becomes our constant companion. While we are exhorted to “give thanks in all things,” this is often easier said than done. The reality is that each morning when we wake up, we are at a mental, emotional, and spiritual “fork in the road” regarding the day ahead of us. We can plod through the day with ingratitude and even bitterness for the physical maladies we face, or we can lean into God, embrace our human infirmities, and grow in gratitude, joy, and hope.
So what makes the difference?
In Resilience God Style, I have provided many ways we can be resilient through the various storms of life. One relevant quote comes from Jerry White, “As we grow older, if we are growing spiritually, we grow in hope. If we do not continue to grow spiritually, we grow in bitterness.” (RGS, pg 75) This is very true, whether over a life time or in the span of one day. The spiritual spark that ignites a positive and productive day comes from God Himself. Hence, each day a first priority must be to seek God first (Matt 6:33). As we “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8), we can experience fullness of joy in His presence (Psalm 16:11). This is how we avoid bitterness each day, and for a lifetime.
Personally, this conversation has become very relevant as I recently recovered from a total knee replacement over the Christmas holidays. While I am grateful for excellent medical care, I have also allowed the cycle of pain, prescription drugs, and restrictions on freedom of movement to sometimes diminish my “joy factor.” While not comparable to the adversity many of you are facing, this “season of infirmity” has given me far more compassion for those who live with greater pain and long-term physical maladies, along with the accompanying unseen mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges. I now possess even greater appreciation for the difficulty of staying “on azimuth” spiritually in the midst of physical infirmity.
Now for the audience participation phase! What are your thoughts?
- Are you in a “season of infirmity?”
- How do you maintain an “attitude of gratitude,” despite living with illness or injury? Or, it may simply be dealing with the realities of aging.
- Is there a particular “spiritual spark” that often shapes the rest of your day?
- Do you have an example that totally changed the trajectory of your day, or your life?
Give our Resilience God Style community your thoughts. They will be glad you did.
May we all be Resilient – God Style!