Thursday, February 26, 2015

Room 314: Finding a Firm Foundation

Through the course of my recent illness, I lost much of my muscle and lung capacity and a lot of weight. Immediately before I entered the hospital, I enjoyed long-distance running and cross country skiing. While it appears that, with a significant amount of work and training, I can regain these physical attributes that would allow me to enjoy these activities, my experience taught me how tenuous life is, and how quickly these physical attributes can be lost. No matter how hard we train or educate ourselves, our physical and mental attributes are not meant to last. Similarly, while we were blessed with having health insurance, a catastrophe like this could have had the effect of wiping out one's life savings. Being away from work meant I lost the opportunity to market my legal skills, serve my existing clients, and continue to make a living. I could have easily lost my law practice. As with our physical attributes, no set of earthly circumstances can possibly withstand the trauma of significant suffering, whether the death of one's child, financial ruin, or one's own sickness or death. My experience in Room 314 has re-centered the source of stability in my life around the only thing that can last through significant suffering--Jesus Christ. In Matthew 7, 24-27, Jesus contrasts the "wise" man who built his house on a rock with the "foolish" man who built his house on sand. While the house built on sand may have gone up quicker and easier, the house build on sand cannot withstand the rain and wind. The wise man's house withstood the weather because of where its foundation was laid. We must continually ask ourselves where our own foundation is laid. Jesus says that the only way to bear up under suffering is to follow him, to center your affections on Him. Similarly, in Psalm 73, the Psalmist is initially frustrated by the apparent physical and financial prowess of the godless people around him in light of his own suffering. And then, after entering into worship and prayer with God, he was able to re-center his affections in God. "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26. When suffering through the death of a child or facing financial or career difficulties, our sufferings educate us as to the temporal duration of any source of stability outside of Christ. I pray that God would use Room 314 to continually remind me of what will ultimately last, and where our foundation should be laid.

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