Beautiful Things by Grungor – From: Rachel Hamilton’s channel – YouTube
“For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. When I awake, I am still with thee.”
~ Psalm 139: 13-17, RSV
I know you are thinking how could someone who lives with multiple diseases say they have been beautifully made. For my health’s integrity has been compromised due to my body expressing major dysfunction. I have whole organs now missing. My immune system constantly attacks healthy cells of numerous body systems. I am severely immunosuppressed. Constantly sick – with disability that progressively worsens as each year passes. However, in the midst of it all, I must still praise God for the beautiful things he makes in me.
God did not cause my broken body. The fallen state throughout the world gets the credit for bringing illness and disorder to me, to you. The chaos that original sin brought broke what God made perfect. He allows the diseases to happen but only for the good for the world and ourselves. In the midst of the suffering, He makes what is broken beautiful and powerful. I have to trust that God will bring excellence to all who love him even in the midst of excruciating pain.
God can do great things in weakness. When I am sick, stuck in bed or on the couch, I have to slow down and ask others for help to do the things I can not do for myself. That is where the attractive things happen. Mainly, two beautiful things happen.
First, when I slow down I am given the freedom to reflect, to focus on that which is the most important in human life. I have to listen to God prodding in my heart. Through his insights and interior work, I find that relationship and love is what matters the most. Not finances, not work, not success, not competition, and list goes on. What matters the most is to love and be love.
Ask anyone on their death-bed. They will tell you their regrets. These always connect to the most important people throughout their lives. They regret not spending enough time with them. Conversely, they regret missed opportunities to reconcile with those they have been estranged from. These regrets grounded in broken relationships cause them tremendous pain.
They remember the times when they did not love enough or did not get the love they needed in their lives. No one ever regrets not working amply, not spending sufficiently, not being quite powerful enough, etc. The relationships from their past are what matters most. They have come to realize that it might be too late to fix them.
When I am sick I become empty of self. This emptiness makes room for God to fill myself with his divine love, a tremendous love that can overflow to the world. His divine love is available to all who are sick. The power of the gift bears eternal fruit when one does not waste their suffering, but allows God to work a beautiful things within them. Affliction serves conversion and rebuilds goodness within the person who heroically bears. All one needs to do is it to give their suffering over to God. Hand it to Christ on the cross and spend time with him there. Beautiful things will come; I promise.
Secondly, the other beautiful thing that happens is to the ones who responds to the sick one’s cry for help. The one who cares and serves the weak one can share in those beautiful things too. By responding in love and compassion to the other before them, the caregiver becomes a better human being. She grows in holiness through sacrificial service to the other. That is the most beautiful thing of all. The beautiful things shared with others even when one is bedridden and frail. That is the true miracle how God makes the weakest the strongest.
The sick actually shares in Christ’s redemptive work within the soul of the one who serves them. “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col 1:24). Through the goodness and witness of God’s love within their broken body, the ill one invites the caregiver into a deeper relationship with Christ in distressing disguise. The one who tends is joyfully able to answer the question “…when was it that we saw you sick?” (Mat 25:39)
When one looks upon a broken body and recognizes the beauty of the person that resides there – they meet Christ. Both people enter the deepest human relationship possible – communion. The service of the caregiver and the receptivity of the one being cared for becomes a working, living, breathing prayer of deep relationship. “The deepest level of communication is communion. When we know and love someone we are simply happy to be near them. We feel power and energy pass between us. This is the power of prayer.” (Richard Rohr)
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, worked with the worlds poorest and sickest – the ones who are forgotten, rejected, and thrown away. She taught about the importance of allowing Christ’s light to shine through in the simplest things, like a smile. She said, “The Light, O Jesus, will be all from you – none of it will be mine. It will be you shining on others through me. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see Jesus.” (Total Surrender, 1985)
When one doesn’t waste their suffering and allows God to do beautiful things the light of Christ will shine out in the darkest and most desperate of situations. The greatest hope, as one shares in the redemptive suffering of Jesus is that one also shares in his resurrection. In profound weakness God can do the most powerful of beautiful things.
Challenge for This Week: When you struggle this week with your own suffering, offer your suffering to Christ. Ask him to do something beautiful in you. Trust in him and find time to be silent with him. Pray this simple prayer:
“Lord Jesus, I trust in you. I know that I do not always understand why I have pain or suffer. I know I can not always see what is happening but I know that in all things you only want what is good for me. Help me trust that you are doing something beautiful in me though my physical body is broken and torn. Give me your light, your love, your hope, your joy in the midst of my pain. Amen!”