I Have Never Been Stranded on Mars, but if I were . . .

“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.” –Mark Watney (The Martian)

I have had a multitude of troubles thrown my way, but I can honestly say, I have never been stranded on Mars. In the early days after Jonathan’s death a friend asked, “How are you doing this? How are you able to function?”

My answer, “I’m not.”

I knew several things almost instantly the day Jonathan died.

  1. This was hell on earth.
  2. I could not stand in this furnace alone.
  3. I would grieve with hope.

Galatians 2:20I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

I live, because Christ lives. The more I am crucified with Christ, my fleshly desire to have Jonathan alive dies. So many of us do not get over losing our children because it is a way of keeping them alive in our minds. God does not say, “Just get over it.” He mourns with us! At the same time he invites us to the realization that God will be glorified. We cannot stare longingly at the grave of our past and expect to resurrect what is not within God’s will. We must keep our eyes fixed upon the cross if we want to live.

I wrestle with this aspect of God’s character, but I also know he did not spare his own son. When Jesus started talking to the followers about “eating his flesh”, many walked away. (John 6:53) This is a hard teaching! Will I leave Jesus because I cannot fully get my mind around what he is asking of me? No! Who else in this world has changed my life. Who else has loved me like you? You are the Christ and my salvation is in you alone.

I am finding that the cross is the juxtaposition of Christ! Opposites collide on the cross– life and death, pain and pleasure, law and grace, sin and holiness, shame and glory. On the cross Jesus understands, both my deepest sorrow, and the heights of his fathers glory. And as I die my spirit is revealed more and more. I pray that I too, one day, can fully state. “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” I don’t have to scramble, alone, to solve enough problems to get home. Christ already solved them for me on the cross. I’m already home!

 

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Betrayed by the body

Lamentations:320Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me. 21This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.…

Matthew 26:38Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”

 

Sometimes our body betrays our attempts at escaping depression. Chronic pain, chronic insomnia, chronic stress all break down our body. In other words, our body comes into agreement with depression. So when we begin to change our thinking and our actions the body doesn’t always respond, sometimes because of physical illness it will never be able to respond and at times it out and out rebels.

I often joke that I’m so used to chaos that panic ensues when I experience something normal. Anyone who has ever had an addiction can attest to the war between the body and new habits. Caffeine withdraw can cause headaches, because our body becomes used to caffeine and craves it. Our body can crave depression.

Don’t lose heart when the body doesn’t respond to hope or new habits of acting in faith. Keep forming new ways of thinking, interact with humanity because it IS the right thing to do, not because it feels right. Do what is good, even if the body betrays you.

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