(Dedicated to Jonah)
“The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” Number 21:8 (NIV)
It feels like I haven’t written in ages. It feels that way because, frankly, my life has been torn apart by confusion, pain and grief. The past week has felt like an eternity … in part, because the pain is sometimes such that it literally takes my breath away. And even when I can breathe, I haven’t much to say.
Pain can be like that. Whether it’s pain brought on by unfortunate circumstances, by your own bad choices, or by someone else’s wrong-doing, pain can be like that. Almost overwhelming. Grieving the loss of what you had or wanted or wished for … wanting to cling onto what isn’t really there, giving you no choice but to let go … wishing you could turn back time and change this course in your history. Trying not to drown.
But as I sit and wallow in all of this, God speaks. God, in His goodness and mercy, continues to love and to speak in His still small voice … and He says to me simply “look up.”
Look up, like the Israelites did to the snake on the pole that Moses held as they wandered in the desert. Look up, like Jesus tells Peter as Peter begins to sink because he’s looking too much at the wind and the waves instead of looking at Jesus. (See Matthew 14:29-30). Look up, as we all must, to the cross of Calvary and bow and wonder at what the God of heaven has done for us. Look up.
What does all this have to do with health and fitness? At first, I wasn’t sure. But I guess it’s because I must officially acknowledge that our lives and bodies will pass away. Try as we may (and we should, by the way, try hard to steward our bodies well, just as we steward so many of God’s gifts) … but try as we may, these bodies will suffer and pass away. We will hurt and experience great pain and much grief. There will be wind and waves — many scary and seemingly overwhelming waves. There will be sorrows that “like sea billows roll.” (It Is Well With My Soul, Horatio Spafford, 1873.) But even then … especially then … God says, “look up.”
I don’t know what you are going through or where it hurts, but I do know this: God’s loving voice says to you and to me “look up.” “Look up at Me, and you will live.”