Substance, Shadow & Reflection
It's been several years since I've awaken to stumble down the stairs seeking relief from discomfort. After settling myself on the couch with ice, ibuprofen, and pudding I picked up the Voice of the Martyrs magazine.
Squinting at the words, since I was without my contact lenses, I read the excerpt "Resisting the Worst Tortures" from Richard's Wurmbrand's book God's Underground. Wurmbrand recounted his experience enduring torture during the fourteen years he spent in Communist prisons. As I read his words in the dark of midnight, alone in a houseful of people, I recognized the depth of strength perfected through suffering. Wurmbrand wrote, "had I been just flesh I could not have resisted. But the body is only a temporary residence for the soul."
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of sitting in my Dad's Sunday school class rather than teaching my own. He always opens with a question. That week he asked what our most valuable possessions were. We listed the usual items. My Dad pointed out that though we rarely think of it as such, our bodies are our possession. We may point to our bodies and refer to them as ourselves, but our true person is deeper, in our eternal souls.
Our bodies with their aches and pains, whether the result of persecution or a dental procedure, are only temporary fixtures. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV). Our bodies will break and wear out. The true part of us, our souls, will endure forever. That's a promise that puts temporary discomfort in perspective.