"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed,
but will have sufficient courage,
so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,
whether by life or by death..."
~ Philippians 1:20
It is amazing to me that some verses can be so familiar, and yet become so fresh, personal, and alive at different times. I just love that about the Word of God!
Since my time in the hospital, I've been trying to recover strength that I lost, and it's slow going. Not that I was very muscular and mighty before the hospital, but you tend to realize what you are capable of when you no longer are. Feeding myself has been an arduous task that I'm still figuring out - the grip on the spoon, the up-and-down of spoon from plate to mouth to plate, the manipulation of spoon into mouth without dropping food, and even being very careful about swallowing. My friends are gracious enough to let me try and struggle, and also gracious enough to lend a hand when I give up and throw that stupid spoon down. There are other things... little things, like typing, holding my phone to my ear, applying mascara, taking pictures, and picking up my tea cup, that make me so upset and discouraged about my body, my weakness, my disability.
So it was really wonderful when some friends and mentors sat in my Little Burma living room this morning and lovingly reminded me of Philippians 1:18-26. I've been reading it over and over since then, and one thing that I've learned is that Paul didn't ask God for sufficient strength, but sufficient courage. A very wise person told me that there are many things we want to do, but there are a few things we were made to do: we were made to glorify the Lord and draw others to him. And I realize that these things do not require any physical strength... they could be accomplished even if I was lying flat in a bed, unable to speak or move. What they do require is courage - courage to live each day with joy and hope; courage to trust in God and remember his promises; courage to love those who seem unlovable; courage to invite people to drink from the Living Water; courage to bless the name of the Lord for no other reason than for who He is.
I am encouraged by the stories of people throughout history who were weak, young, small, and flawed, and how Christ was exalted in their bodies... I don't know how he does it, but I pray he would do that through me, too.