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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Dying Bodies, Renewing Spirits

In the past week or so I have been thinking about an old friend and brother in Christ. He has been diagnosed Alzheimer's and it's progressing. I met this dear brother over 20 years where we were part of our youth. I was one of the leaders. He and two of his siblings are also my friends. He is a very kind and soft spoken man but could get irritated easily. Yet I enjoyed seeing his response to things that bothered him because he was never threatening. Often we spent time in our Monday Bible studies and in many social church events. Several memories have come to mind. One of them was when he showed me a binder with all the Bible studies I had given during our Monday night. It showed me his desire to grow and learn about the Lord. We often had jog-athons at our church and he had an incredible stamina and resistance. He left me behind. What I admire most about this brother in Christ is his faithfulness to the Lord. This faithfulness is evident in everything he has done. He spent over 20 years in his job and about 13 years in the church he is still a member.

I have been praying for him, his family and desired to see him. This weekend we went to the church he attends to see him. He was glad to see us. We sat with him and his family during the service. After the service we went out to eat with his family. We had short conversations but noticed that he said things about his past that I had no part in. He mixed both the present with the past. Nevertheless, I enjoyed being with him again. Physically his body appears unchanged yet his mind is not the same. What struck of our visit was how his first born daughter showed affection to him. She often leaned close and touch his hair with much affection. The love of her daughter was evident. I can't imagine the trials that lie ahead of them and yet I know they are in good hands.

As we left our time with them I was grateful to have spent this time with my friend and his family. I continued to pray for him as the day went on. I couldn't grasp the whole experience. Here is a friend, brother in Christ that I have known for so long in a struggle with Alzheimer's. I would have never thought that this would come to pass.

On Sunday my wife and I were reading 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 in the evening and it was encouraging.

"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever! So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever." (TLB)

We know our bodies are dying. But our bodies are not all there is in us, if they were, it would be hopeless. God has given us a spirit that has been endowed with eternal life through Christ. It renews daily. It groans to be free from our frail bodies. And yet, the sufferings we will experience in our life are real. They will hurt. But they will be temporary. All our troubles will end. We don't focus on them but on the "joys in heaven which we have not yet seen." The joys of heaven "will last forever."

I look forward to spend more time with my friend. We may not spend much here on earth but we will certainly enjoy it in heaven where everything will be brand new. And that is only the beginning. We look forward to the resurrection when we will be clothed with new bodies. (See 2 Corinthians 5) Here lies our future hope.

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