“Muscle relaxers, Tylenol, and physical therapy,” the neurologist said. At 32, I was faced with two options: living in pain every day or living on medication every day. I didn’t like either option, to be honest. And to be even more honest, I don’t like that my body seems to only fall apart.
Between chronic stomach pain and digestive issues, PCOS, MTHFR (a genetic defect), recurrent pregnancy loss, and chronic pain in my back, shoulders, and neck, I’m well acquainted with the brokenness of my own body. Whether you face chronic pain and illness or short-term pain and illness, I’m certain you’ve not escaped this reality.
The Reason Our Bodies Are Broken
God created the earth, the heavens, and everything in them, and he declared it all good (Gen. 1:31). He created the first humans, Adam and Eve, out of the dust of the earth and breathed life into them. They lived in a perfect world with perfect bodies and enjoyed perfect fellowship with God himself. But when Eve opened her heart to the deceitful serpent, she and her husband ate fruit from the only tree withheld from them. By one disobedient bite, sin and death and pain were ushered in. All our bodies are broken because we’re under the curse of the fall in Genesis.
Our bodies don’t always function as they should. When I experience pain or illness, I so keenly feel the groan in my heart for the redemption of my body, don’t you? Confrontation with the brokenness of our bodies helps us boast of God’s strength in our weakness and preaches the story of the redemption to come.
We see this truth in Scripture: “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23).
So we must wait, but we also groan.
Boasting in Our Weakness
Sickness and pain reveal our weakness. When we face another diet restriction, feel jolting pain as we pick up our child, suddenly have to lay down from exhaustion, or can't leave the bathroom, we’re face-to-face with the depth of our weakness. Morning sickness makes you feel weak. A broken leg makes you feel weak. Pain that leaves you couch-ridden makes you feel weak. As humans, we can’t escape our weaknesses, but we can look beyond them, choosing to see them as a gift.
When our bodies reveal their brokenness, it primes us to experience God’s strength and comfort. We get to watch him provide for our needs and carry us through every sunrise and sunset of our pain. What a gift it is to taste the grace of God through feeling the power of Christ resting on us (2 Cor. 12:9b). In some moments of weakness, it may feel hard to sense his presence with us. But one day, we'll look back through new eyes that have seen the Lord live up to his faithfulness. As we witness his steadfast love toward us day after day, our trust in him deepens. As our trust becomes more rooted in Christ, we experience the peace of knowing he will never leave us and his plans for us are good.
The Spirit enables us, even as our bodies fail, to say with Paul, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9b–10).
Weakness beckons us to fix our eyes on eternity where God will heal all that's broken. One day, our bodies will be redeemed.
Redemption is Coming
A few years ago I came down with the flu, and it hit me hard. By day six or seven, I began to wonder if I’d ever feel better—maybe it was my time to die. I can be a bit dramatic at times. The point is, even some of the shortest afflictions can feel like they will last forever. In 2 Corinthians 4:17, the apostle Paul says that the various trials we experience on earth are “light and momentary afflictions.”
Feeling our bodies fail and flounder doesn’t feel light or momentary, does it? Yet, in light of eternity, these sufferings hold no weight. Our hope is set in heaven, not on the things of the earth—not on how well our bodies function. Those who are in Christ will be resurrected as he was, trading in our weak, perishable bodies for a body that bears the image of heaven.
We are groaning together with all of creation (Rom. 8:22). One day, our groans will end. On that day, we will stand in glorified bodies beholding the glory of our Savior, and every ounce of our pain will be wiped away (Rev. 21:4). This is our hope. This is what we recall when sickness and decay take over our bodies. You and I can allow our weaknesses—whatever they are—to point our eyes heavenward, fixing them on Christ (Col. 3:1–3).
Friends, the redemption of your chronic migraines, your autoimmune disorder, or your cancer diagnosis is coming. Jesus will make our bodies new, freeing us from the pain and illnesses we experience on this earth forever. This is his promise to us, and he keeps his promises.
Meet the Author:
Brittany Allen resides in Ohio with her husband and their son. She’s a writer, co-host of the Treasuring Christ Podcast, and the Social Media Coordinator for Gospel-Centered Discipleship. Summer, reading, theology, coffee, and her son’s giggles are a few of her favorite things. You can follow her on Instagram @brittanyleeallen and read more of her writing on her blog at https://brittleeallen.com/.