Most of us, especially in the early years of life, take for granted the bodies we live in. They are the "housing" of our young lives. As we grow into them as children, young teenagers, and as 20- or 30-something young adults, our bodies, for so many of us, are serving us well.
We have remarkable strength, and even various agilities, which we rather assume about life. We climb stairs with generally, "the greatest of ease." We walk. We run. We breathe. We lift. We leap out of chairs. We carry things. All abilities that we largely assume.
But, as we age, things change. Especially to do with our bodies. We break things - like an arm or leg. And, for the most part, quickly heal. We find we need adjustments, and seek doctors and therapists to help us. We need glasses, or knee braces, or pills to ease pain.
When I was not yet a teenager, a great joy to me was climbing the mountains that were the "hills of home" to me. I swam daily during long summers. I paddled canoes, and rowed rowboats.
In secondary school I "went out" for crew, and became a captain of my school team. I went to college, and did the same. I loved the pull of the oars of eight boys, then four, as we learned how to make a rowing shell move, and eventually, to defeat others down the course, at Cornell on Lake Cayuga, and in Syracuse on Lake Onondaga, and Princeton, and Pennsylvania, and the Navy at Annapolis.
I later was to row in the 1952 Olympic Trials on Lake Quinsigamond. Even Scotland, while studying theology there, had rowing challenges, and victories.
Now, so many decades later, I paddle alone on Lake Ossipee's waters, both in my single shell, and in my canoe.
But these days, of my ninth decade, I am limited to a rowing machine at the Flagship Athletic Club in Eden Prairie.
And something has happened to make me think differently, about this body God gives me. It has suddenly changed, actually shrinking. I walk slowly, and not far. Mercifully, I can still row.
But now, I wonder about this amazing machine I was given at my birth. Things happen to it - inside, that I cannot see. But, I can feel the changes: swellings in various places. I am re-introduced to the lymph system, hardly knowing, even yet, what it is. It carries fluid through my body, to various places of swelling, and I think a lymph node. I am being scanned and biopsied toward understanding the mystery of it.
And today, in the midst of the gloom of having to postpone the biopsy till my blood count lowers, a great word of scripture has come to mind, to remind me of the greater reality, that like King David's discovery of hundreds of years ago, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made!" This body is a miracle, and has been for almost 91 years.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
How that beautiful outcry turns it all around for us, as we behold our wrinkled hands, and sagging middles, and spindly legs.
Our bodes are a beautiful time machine. Into what wonderful experiences they have carried us. What visions they have shown us. And how they comfort us.
God knows my days and the number of them. And I can stop so foolishly speculating on how many more there may be. It is enough that I am His, and that, by His grace, I can fill those days with the thoughts and acts He has planned for me.
God brings each day, and fulfills them as He wills. For me it is "not to worry." How about you?
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. . ."