Oh that I once past changing were
Fast in thy paradise, where no flower can wither.
I think of the woman I helped in the grocery store last week. She was only in her thirties, I’m guessing, but she was bent over in her wheelchair, tiny and frail. A veil of shame and disappointment had permanently shaped her countenance; you have seen that tragic mask, I’m sure. I helped her reach the egg salad on the shelf above, but my heart broke for her. This is her life? What do you say to the soldier horribly maimed by stepping on an IED? What restoration awaits the woman who, due to a series of complications after surgery, lost three of her limbs and must be turned in bed many times a day?
Thank God we have more than empathy to offer; we have the restoration of Jesus to point to as a solid, vivid demonstration of our coming renewal.
The broken body of Jesus was horribly torn apart by his torture and execution; I wince even to write of it. “He didn’t even look human—a ruined face, disfigured past recognition” (Isaiah 52:13 The Message). But then, wonder of wonders, two mornings later he was completely renewed at his resurrection. Our Forerunner was physically restored and then some. Gone the thorn in his brow, gone the spear in his side, gone the nails in his hands. His body was beautiful and whole again. So great was his happiness he spent Easter in some very playful encounters with his friends.
Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits ...
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1–5)
Again—these promises are so beautiful our parched souls can hardly take them in, as the sunbaked earth can barely receive the thundershowers it so desperately needs. Just linger on this one promise for a moment—your loving Father will renew your youth. No one is old in his kingdom.