Col 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Reading is something I really like to do – however I am what I call a compulsive reader. Let me explain: compulsive not in reading all the time but compulsive in that when I do find a book I don’t want to put it down for any reason until I have completed the book. I want a quiet nook, a cup of something warm to drink and a sign hanging over my head that says, “Do Not Disturb!” So was the case this past couple of weeks – I found a book that seemed to draw me in and I had that MUST READ feeling.
“When Your Life is Changed Forever,” is a book about death – more accurately put it is about the death of someone very dear to you. Forty years of nursing and many years of teaching death and dying to patients and their families and yet this book revealed that my understanding of this topic was still incomplete. I actually started reading this book because of a dear family member that was separated from their life long friend and spouse approximately three years ago. Three years has passed and this family member is still at a loss of how to take the next breath without his life long, God chosen partner. The partner who was supposed to be with him forever!
I have witnessed many people grieving and their difficult process of working through this awful time in their life. The author of this book does not hold back but rather unashamedly bares his soul that others may have HOPE. Hope they can cling to during their journey on the road through the immense void of emptiness and despair. The first half of this book shares his thoughts regarding the many well meaning people with words of encouragement. Words of encouragement that you have heard people say many times to people who are grieving but so very often these words are not encouraging – they only make things worse because they reveal just how much we do not understand the pain that is being experienced.
This family member was standing at my kitchen sink and just one look told me just how miserable he was feeling. “I just don’t understand why I feel so bad”, “I just want things to be the way they were…” I took a very long deep breath, prayed for Christ’s great love and wisdom to rise up with in me and give me the courage to say: “Sweetie you feel so bad because your life has been changed and that change is for ever. You feel so bad because half of you is missing and the life you once lived will never be the way it was again…”
I know, I can hear your thoughts; “that was cruel”, “Phyllis, that was just down right mean” but was I really being cruel, was I really being mean or was I in love sharing a truth that in his heart he already knew was true but just couldn’t bring himself to say that horrible truth? You betcha, that’s exactly what was going on and as painful as that was to hear – healing will come forth no matter how slow/fast the process takes it will come forth!
Now how did all that death talk wind up on My Road to fitness? Why would a finished work fitness mind set spend so much time thinking about death?
What is it about death that keeps a person held captive when the absolute truth is that new life emerges from death? Any gardener knows that when you put a seed into the ground that seed will begin to yield to its environment, the outer shell dies and gives way so that a new life may go forth to fruition. Did you know that people who deal with bulimia and other eating disorders sometimes deal with what is labeled a “BINGE” but did you also know that “BEGIN” has the same exact letters they are simply rearranged. Two words, same letters, but totally different meanings: one brings feelings of guilt and hopelessness (death) while one brings life and hope. Is it possible that those of us that have struggled with weight, the love and comfort of foods or those with true eating disorders may have to die to some things in order for them to be buried – buried forever?
I had a week of weak! I missed two days of working out at the gym, Friday of the week before and Monday of this week. I had a whole weak week where I ate every comfort food imaginable and I felt MISERABLE!! Absolutely no joy was being experienced as I was painfully reminded of Paul in the book of Romans 7:24 when he said ”O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Right about here I was contemplating funeral plans – not for myself but for an old lifestyle that was useless and no longer profitable for me.
I shed no tears at this funeral but instead found myself humbled by the graciousness of a great and faithful God who reminded me of 1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. You know the word here translated escape is the Greek word “ekbasis” – it is a nautical term that refers to an exit to a place of safety much like the gangplank of a ship that allows passage from the sea to the solid ground. It’s a place where I can clearly see the Grace of God at work when He shares a five letter word like BINGE (temptation) only to remind me of His faithfulness through the rearranging of those same five letters to create BEGIN (ekbasis: the way of escape)! I can BEGIN each new day knowing that His mercies are renewed daily. I can BEGIN any time I find that I myself somewhere I don’t belong. I can BEGIN by remembering the following three steps:
Verses taken from the AMPLIFIED BIBLE:
STEP 1: Col 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God
STEP 2: Col 3:2 And set your minds and keep them set on what is above -- the higher things -- not on the tings that are on the earth.
STEP 3: Col 3:3 For [as far as this world is concerned you have died, and your[new,real] life is hid with Christ in God.