Life & Health Theology

Meditations on Surgery XI: A New Perspective on Resurrection

March 9, 2010

As I have been reflecting on this whole process that I have been going through these past two months, it surprises me how much this surgery has changed my thinking and perspective on so many things. As I have stated before, it has changed the way I view pain, discomfort, loss, and being grateful for little things, but I’ve realized that it even changes the way I read Scripture. Even as I write this it sounds kind of odd that a surgery would change the way I read God’s word, but it has — and I believe, for the better!

The best example of this that just jumps out to me is passages regarding resurrection and Jesus returning. Before my surgery, I would read these passages and get excited about them, but I wouldn’t have the same pull that the author seemed have. In my mind I could understand how it was a good thing for Jesus to return, and how resurrection was a good thing, but I just didn’t feel like I wanted it to happen as much as Paul or other NT authors did. Peter talks about “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Pet. 3:12), but I didn’t have that same urgency. I was fine with just kind of “waiting” for the day of God while I finished my life here on earth — I wasn’t so sure I was up for the “hastening” part of it.

For me, resurrection and Jesus returning were “nice” things about Christianity, but things I could wait for a little longer. I did want both to happen, but for the most part I kind of wanted them to happen after I had lived my life the way I wanted it. I didn’t want Jesus to return until after I had gotten married, had children, and enjoyed life a bit. Then, when I was old, dying, and decrepit, I would eagerly wait for Jesus to return and be excited about resurrection (clearly that was why Paul and Peter felt that way — they were old and had lived their life).

But the truth of it was this: Jesus returning didn’t mean much to me because I still had so much I wanted to do (and I hadn’t fully seen the brokenness of the world), and resurrection didn’t mean much to me because my body was in pretty-darn-ridiculously-good shape (if I may say so, myself). [Note to readers who do not know me: I tend to over use sarcasm]. A new body wasn’t that appealing because my old one didn’t really have any problems as of yet. Sure I had FAP, but that wouldn’t really affect me until I was about 50 or so, and by then I’d be much more ready for resurrection.

But having my colon removed has totally changed my perspective — and I think it has really given me an advantage over people my age who are perfectly healthy. Now I am excited about resurrection! A new body is something good for me now! I have a very real physical reminder that this world has been broken by sin and needs to be made new. I no longer see Jesus as simply my Savior, but also as my Redeemer, and as my Creator — who will one day make me new! New creation — not just spiritually, but physically! I am now reminded every day that my body is dying and needs to be resurrected. I have the blessing of an 8-inch scar covering my abdomen, and the fact that I can see my small intestine poking out of my stomach wall to remind me that I need a new body. I can’t go a day without seeing the effects of sin on my body. I can’t go a day without seeing the pain in this world.  I can’t go a day without noticing that something is wrong. And I find that a huge blessing in my perspective change.

In some sense, “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Gal 6:17). These scars serve as a reminder that sin is very real and has real consequences. This world is fallen and broken because of sin, and not only our bodies feel it, but the earth itself too (c.f. Rom. 8). Something needs to change. Someone needs to redeem this world from sin and it’s effects. Now my body groans with all of creation to be made new, and I actually feel it and see it daily. I find that to be such a blessing from God.

So now I read about resurrection, and my thought is: Yes!! I can’t wait for this to happen! And the thought of Jesus returning is so much more appealing to me. I’ve gotten that urgency that I always knew I should have but just couldn’t muster up by sheer willpower. Now I can truly say with Paul in Philippians, “to live is Christ and to die is gain,” and join in the closing of Revelation saying, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” And being able to read those things with eagerness and anticipation brings me such joy! I can’t wait until Jesus returns and the resurrection happens! Oh, that it would hasten and come quickly!

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