Faced with Frailty
Getting older sucks.
There is no way around that, we all get older and we our bodies, minds, and emotions start to break down.
1 Peter 1:24 – For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls
Now, please keep in mind, I am fairly healthy. But as I have gotten older, I have started having more and more issues. And I don’t exactly keep myself in the best of shape. I don’t exercise other than walk the dog around the neighborhood a couple times a day. If you cut me I will bleed chocolate and marshmallow fluff. Watching my calories involves reducing the number of Oreos that I eat from 8 to 4.
Today as I went to the doctor, he told me that I have something on my leg that he wants to remove and send to pathology for testing.
Without making this sound dramatic, in a brief moment I realized just how fragile this life is. I had every negative thought running through my head in that single moment. All the “what-if” questions hit me. It didn’t help that as I was sitting in the doctor’s office there was a single publication to read and the title of it was “Living with Cancer.”
Now before I go on, please note that I have nothing more than a single lump on my leg that is getting cut off in a few weeks. Nothing more.
But when the doctor says those words about being a possibility, you begin to realize how fragile and frail the human condition is.
Job 14:1 – “Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil.
The then I think about the apostle Paul.
In Philippians 4 he talks about being content in all circumstance. In Galatians 4 he talks about his physical illness. In 2 Corinthians 12 he mentions his “thorn in the flesh.”
Paul was a broken man.
But humanity is broken by design.
I have heard many people say that we weren’t meant to be broken, but it was because of the sin that entered from Adam and Eve that we became broken. And there are definitely scriptures to support that, because of the Fall, we were broken.
But I believe we were broken before that, we just didn’t realize it yet.
How could sin enter into Adam and Eve unless they had a broken nature to them? If they did not have a nature that was susceptible to sin and brokenness then why did God have to give instruction to them? He could have just let them go on their own without the instructions.
But brokenness needs to be part of our condition by design.
We are never more human than in our brokenness.
Think about it, when you are doing well at something do you believe you need God? Do you truly put God first when things are going well? Maybe for the few “super-spiritual” people who we see as the Marvel superheroes of Christianity, but for the average run of the mill Christian, we forget God too easily.
We succeed and believe that our success is due strictly to ourselves. We grow and we credit ourselves for the growth.
We are a proud bunch of people.
Psalm 49:12 – But man in his pomp will not endure; He is like the beasts that perish.
But brokenness shows us that we are not God.
When we are hit with illness, we realize that we cannot do it alone. When our bank account reaches zero and the bills are piling up, we realize that we cannot dig ourselves out of the hole we created. When we anger our friends on Facebook we realize just how lonely we are when given to our own devices.
We need our brokenness.
It reminds us that we need someone who is much bigger than us. It reminds of us of our Creator and that we require a Creator to create us. It reminds us that we are simply clay pots in the potter’s hands.
Without brokenness we become a people that is proud of our own accomplishments. We turn inward focused. We desire ourselves and our own flesh and, eventually, our self-centered nature leads us to not just forget God, but others.
That is why brokenness is built into our humanity.
Without it we wouldn’t look out for our brethren.
God has always been about loving Him and loving others.
We can’t love others unless we know how to love Him.
That is why we wants us to love Him. It teaches us to love others.
Brokenness reminds us of that.
So, as I write this, and get out of my own head and refocus my attention on God and the grace He has poured on me, I realize my humanity and the brokenness I have. I realize the frailty of my body. I realize the strength I have in an eternal God.
And I thank God for the brokenness.
A lesson in living. A lesson in loving. And a lesson in being human.
Psalm 39:4 – “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered–how fleeting my life is.