I beg, pray for sleep in the gray murky heaviness. In the middle of the night, the good, the positive, the Truth are absent. Intrusive thoughts bombard me. Sixty-eight? Doubts come. What have I done with my life? Shortcomings play on repeat; ways I could’ve done better. Why haven’t I written my book? Time past haunts me.
I once told Mama to wear her age with pride. I lecture myself. Why does the number matter? Why did I celebrate younger me more happily? Is there such a thing as age shame?
I do the math again. 2021 – 1953 = 68. It doesn’t seem possible.
The tortuous time from 3:00 to 4:00 a.m. between wake and sleep. The darts fling at me. Whether from the devil or self-flagellation, I do not know. I’d love to escape those dark obscure moments.
Awakening is relief. Come Holy Spirit. Fog lifts; I see more clearly. I listen; I read what is true.
If the anointed one lives within you, even though the body is as good as dead because of the effects of sin, the Spirit is infusing you with life now that you are right with God. If the Spirit of the One who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives inside of you, then you can be sure that He who raised Him will cast the light of life into your mortal bodies through the life giving power of the Spirit residing in you.Romans 8:10-11
I gave Him my life fifty years ago.
I offer my body as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure. My sacrifice is my reasonable, essential worship. I will not allow this world to mold me into its image. I’ll be transformed from the inside out by renewing my mind. I will be able to discern what God wills and whatever He finds good, pleasant and complete.
Those words from Romans 12:1-2, echo in my mind—they’ve become the fabric of me.
A few weeks back I was informed of a suspicious mass in a routine mammogram. I returned for a subsequent test which became a series of four more evaluations and sonograms. Rolling over and over in my mind were these verses. I belong to Him! He’s in charge of my life. I wrapped the over-washed cotton gown, worn by sisters before, snugly around me while I waited in the little room. I pictured my body; each part a living sacrifice. Why worry? I was surprised by a sense of peace.
Finally, the caring, harried radiologist walked in wearing a pained furrowed look. She apologized for the long wait. I thanked her for her thoroughness and the time she took to personally attend me. Her hard face froze for a second then broke into a subtle smile. “Thank you for your kindness. I worry so about people who have to wait too long.” “You’re doing a great service,” I commented. She scurried out as if to hide tears. After a serious look at my tests, she’d given me a clean bill of health. For that I was most thankful. I wondered if the ordeal of repeated evaluations was, in part, to encourage one over-worked under-appreciated doc.
I’m human; I don’t know how I’d react if my prognosis had been dire. I may have freaked out. I’m grateful for health and trust that as I surrender to the Lord, He’ll bring peace that surpasses my understanding.
In the Old Testament we read about animals sacrificed again and again to cover the Israelites’ sins. When Jesus came, John the Baptist cried out (in John 1:29), “He is the Lamb sent from God to erase the sins of the world!”
Paul, in Romans, implores us to offer our very much alive bodies as an act of worship. God uses living bodies— active parts of His body on the earth— to bring Him glory.
As a living sacrifice, I give myself willingly to my Father to use as He sees fit. He directs me providentially and I surrender to His plans.
As a birthday gift, I treated myself to a massage. I couldn’t get Romans 12 off my mind.
As she rubbed out the hard knots, I imagined serving God with those arms and hands.
Hands that reach high in worship, that chop, stir, cook to fill hungry stomachs, arms that wrap friends in love.
I imagined my feet that pound the path while breathing is deep and hard. I push myself; I work for a strong heart; for legs to carry me well. I hope my face will encourage strangers and friends. He created my body to honor Him.
I relax; surrendered on the massage table.
Wide awake, I make peace with 68. God alone knows the number of my days. He has a purpose for each one of them. I’m rich in Him; what more could I ask?
Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given to you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. So that when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to his father and saying, “Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.” Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction.C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity