Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Legs Made for Walking

There come a few times in someone's life when they meet someone who is truly different. Those are the moments that I try to treasure and take hold of. For me, one of those times came last week.

I belong to (not just attend) a church and its youth group. As an 18 year-old, I am one of the leaders at this group. I used to be terrified when my youth pastors would say something along the lines of, "Go and talk to someone you don't know," but recently, God has been tearing at my seams and stretching me, so I try as much as possible to gravitate towards the youth who are lonely and aren't talking to anyone.

So last week, I met someone, who (for the sake of confidentiality) we will call Simon. Simon is different. Not by any choice of his own, but by something that he has had to deal with all his life. He has a deformed left leg. When I saw him hobbling around on his crutches, I made it a point to go talk to him and make him feel welcome.

He was one of the nicest guys ever. In fact, the reason I used to be terrified to speak to new people was not because I didn't know what to say, but for the simple fact that most high-school students don't know how to carry a normal conversation. I feared the awkward.

Simon was not awkard.

I basically spent most of my time with him all throughout the night, and I learned a lot. He was born with his defect, and he's been having surgeries on and off for the past 16 years. (His entire life.) I believe he said that he's had somewhere around 20 surgeries, with little rest in between. He loved to snowboard. (Shocker, eh?) Simon showed me his brace (which had pins all throughout that were jabbed into his leg at various points.) He's dealt with extreme pain his entire life (but seemed kinda freaked out when I told him about the pain from braces for your mouth. Go figure.)

But here's what got to me about his whole situation: he had just gone through his last surgery ever and only had to wait 2-3 months (if everything went well) before he could begin his new life with a leg that is almost exactly perfect. After 16 grueling, painful years, he was intensely impatient to get the brace off and start living life.

His entire life was spent gearing up for this final moment of liberation.

And that, my friends is what our lives should be like.

Paul the apostle says, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21) I never really understood what that meant for a long time, but lemme try to lay it out for you. Paul is trying to say that if God gives him another day to live, then He will use it for Christ. But if God decides to take Paul's life, then it is better because he will finally get to go to Heaven.

Just like Simon is spending his entire life looking forward to being freed from his physical problem, Paul was looking forward to being freed from his physical body to finally be at Heaven's gates.

I used to think that Heaven would be boring. A drag. And plus, I had other things I wanted to do before I got there!

In other words, I imagined myself with a bunch of other people sitting around playing harps and singing all day. Every day. For all eternity. And that's just the beginning. But recently, the Holy Spirit has been showing me that Heaven will be better than anything on this earth (including those things that I wanted to get done). It will be pleasurable and joyful beyond our wildest dreams.

We will be continuously in the presence of the living God! How crazy is that!?!

And if that doesn't excite you, I encourage you to look at Paul's life. He looked forward to being in the presence of God because he had tasted bits and pieces of God's glory, power, and majesty all throughout his life.

But it wasn't enough for him. That is why he looked forward and upward. Because he knew that Heaven would be so fulfilling and amazing because it is the place where we experience more of God than we ever have here on this earth. He goes on to say that he considers "everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:8)

When the purpose of your life is to point to the next, you will find the most joy in the present.

This life is tough. It hurts. It's got a grenade launcher pointed right at us. But we have hope, because we look forward to when Christ will heal us of all our pain, suffering, and baggage.

We see the kingdom.


Amazing post; that gave me shivers. Heaven is where our true home is and it's fantastic to see there are other teens out there with that mentality! I found this post very touching, in a very good way. :D

I'm glad the Spirit used this to speak to you. :)

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