Within one week I have developed three problems with my right leg. I have a weak hamstring, the beginnings of plantar fasciitus, and a serious case of athlete’s foot! Really. My whole right side is a mess. This on top of occasional stabbing pain from arthritus on the top of my right foot.
I played a tennis match last night and during the very first point of the match I felt my right hamstring tweak a bit. I prayed that I could make it through the match (that hamstring made me retire in a match months before. It was followed by weeks of physical therapy), and I did. So I spent some of today looking up exercises for a weak hamstring (’cause I have a weak mind and had forgotten the exercises I spent over $500 to learn months before).
I like being active. I like playing tennis with guys 20-30 years younger than me. My body disagrees with my likes. I can hear the conversation my hamstring had with my foot yesterday:
Hamstring: “Hey. Foot. Let’s show this old guy who’s in charge!”
Foot: “What do you mean, Hammie?”
Foot: “Deal! Maybe we can convince him to buy a rocking chair!”
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
There’s a lot in this passage that I don’t understand. How do you not lose heart when body parts are conspiring and physical therapists are plotting to separate me from my money? I don’t understand why we have to “waste away.” I don’t understand why it is I ache where I didn’t even know there were places which could get sore, or pop, or get strained.
But I do understand a few things: (1) This world is fallen and broken and in pain (like my body parts). I should expect some effects of the Fall in Genesis 3 in my own life (thanks, Adam & Eve). (2) This world is not the only one that is. There will come a new world and I will get a brand-new resurrection body without plantar fasciitus or athlete’s foot or weak hamstrings. So I need to think a bit more about that new world that’s a-comin’. (3) I need to focus more on allowing my inner man to be renewed! This is not to say that our bodies are the prisonhouse of our souls or that we shouldn’t exercise or take care of ourselves. It is the simple truth that we are more than our bodies, more than our athletic abilities, more than our energy and stamina can produce. And lastly, (4) I must take a comparative view and somehow recognize that the issue really is between “light and momentary troubles” versus “an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Meanwhile, I’ve just got one question for you: Got any Ben Gay?
1. What physical exercises do you regularly do?
2. What spiritual disciplines do you regularly practice?