Illness has a way of changing one’s perspective and at times, it happens in an instant. Recent events witnessed in the life of a friend of mine have my spirit reflecting and in this case the context relates to circumstances that had left him having to face a new world and a new way of living.
Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 12, his life had to change from one of free living; do what you want, eat what you want; to that of structure and routine if he was to keep the illness in check. Unfortunately though, when he got older, an addiction gripped him and it was only a matter of time before his body would start to fail. A life of hard living and neglect, both physically and spiritually had taken its toll and the illness he was diagnosed with as a youth now started to take over.
Diabetes is a devastating disease that can often wreak havoc on the body resulting in all kinds of problems and in the case of my friend, he was no exception. Of all the things those living with Diabetes face, tissue alteration and poor circulation are a few of the more visible, destructive and painful to deal with. Amputation is often the remedy; despite ones best efforts taken to prevent it. For my friend it started with damage done to an already suffering foot, leading to the amputation of a few toes. From there it was more of the same foot which led to the final and most recent amputation of his leg below the knee resulting in whole new way of life for him going forward.
You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, how much does a person have to go through before they realize they need to change? Thankfully for my friend it wasn’t long after his diagnosis that he found himself in recovery. He would say, “That was the Lord’s doing”, as he was restored physically in the overcoming of his addiction and spiritually in his relationship with God through Christ in the meeting of a Godly women who would become his wife.
During a recent visit with them to offer prayer and encouragement, I asked him how he felt. He indicated that he could tell his leg was gone and that it was more than just a visual thing. His body could sense that a part of him was missing and it wanted it back; something he knew for man was not possible. But, as is the case with Christ, what is impossible for man is never impossible for God.
In Romans 11 v 11 – 32, God speaks metaphorically through the Apostle Paul to the Israelites and the Gentiles regarding his power and authority to graft in or amputate out those who accept or reject his offer of grace in Christ. He says following in verses 22 – 24:
“Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”
From these verses we understand that it is God, our creator, who is the surgeon operating at the table on the body. And like a surgeon, he has the eye for that which is dangerous and needs to be removed as well as that which is healthy and can be attached or put in. And, what are we attached to you might say? That answer can be found in verse 18 taken from the same chapter which states:
“do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.”
It is the root we are attached or grafted into that provides us life.
Now speaking plainly, what or who is that root? The answer is found in John 14 v 6 when Jesus says:
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The answer is Jesus! The answer is and always will be Jesus! The final question is, will he be the answer for you?
Coming back to my friend, even though a part of him is now gone, who he is hasn’t changed. In Christ, he is a son of God and a worshipper of the only true King. The evidence is found in the life he now lives and who he is living it for. I’m even so bold as to say that God could give him his leg back and believe this based on what Jesus was able to do for those suffering with Leprosy. But in saying that, I don’t believe it necessary in light of the finished work of Jesus on the cross and the empty tomb. We would only be focused on the temporal when God in Christ, through the indwelling power and presence of His Holy Spirit, leads us to embrace the eternal. I pray that as you read you would be grafted in as one referenced in Ephesians 2 v 13:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
To the betterment of our body and His kingdom.
God Bless – Sean Bosse
PS: Special thanks to my friend for the permission to write this. You know who you are.