Saturday, April 9, 2011

Souls, Like Bones

Bones are made to work.  To be healthy, they need impact:  walking,  jumping rope, climbing stairs, chasing the moon, running after little ones, doing a happy dance, anything that pounds the pavement.  Healthy bones need to bear a load:  a pack full of books, bags of groceries, toddler on the hip, scared dog in a thunderstorm, hot casserole for a potluck, briefcase full of the day's labors, . . . not too much, but something.  Bones like tension: ligaments and tendons tugging as muscles work hard, resistance from weights or elastic bands or a child playing horsey on a bouncing leg; pulling and tugging and opposition make bones stronger.

My bones are unhappily underemployed these days.  A bone density scan confirmed this at the end of March.  They are losing mineral density, which means the doctor is unhappy, too.  I have a year to get healthy enough to put them back to work, or else we will start one of the prescription medicines for synthetic strength.

The same phenomenon is mysteriously happening in my mouth.  One recalcitrant tooth root has pulled away from the jaw so that the molar is loose.  This is not news; the dentist and I have been scratching our heads about it for several years, but there was no decay or pain, just mobility where bones disconnected.  As it happens, the jawbone needs that root pulling on it; the opposition keeps it strong.  My jaw has lost bone and will keep losing until something gets a grip on it again.  Monday morning, Lord willing, a surgeon will remove the offending tooth, replace some lost bone, and implant a root replacement.  Eventually, a synthetic tooth will cap off that titanium screw, but the urgent need is to arrest the bone loss.

Hips, spine, jaw, teeth, . . . . They need impact, ballast, resistance to stay strong.

As much as it pains me to say so, my soul is the same way.  No news flash here.  The Scriptures are full of testimony to the benefits of affliction.  I just was hoping  never believed those passages were talking about me.  These past 9 1/2 months are doing good work in my soul, though, even when I can't see it.  If nothing else, they are exposing and diagnosing problems.  My "outer self wasting away" is not the whole story; it's not even the most important part of the story.  Insofar as my body is breaking down, that is the load, the impact, the resistance whereby "my inner self is being renewed day by day."

As a sister has been reminding me, so I remind you, dear readers:  whatever load has been entrusted to you today (and I know many are much, much heavier than my own), do not lose heart.  Someday in Jesus' presence we will see the eternal weight of glory being produced through these trials, and when we do, they will be only momentary, light afflictions by comparison.  Let's put heart into one another to keep our focus on those unseen, eternal realities that together our souls, like bones, might grow stronger through the struggle.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:16-18, ESV).


  1. What an encouraging scripture and message, especially in the midst of discouraging circumstances. I'll be praying for both the strengthening of your bones as well as your soul. Blessings to you.

  2. This is food for the soul, Christina, and it dances (beautifully, not in a toe-trampling way: haha) with some of the very thoughts I've been thinking. I love and appreciate you very much. I will be praying for you, tomorrow.

  3. Thank you, Amy and Brandee, for your friendship and prayers. The Lord be with you both!


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