A couple of days or so ago, I was blessed to be astonished once again at the genius of God in creating these human bodies we all inhabit. One of the wonderfully gifted medical professionals charged with keeping me functional needed some up close and personal contact with parts of me that you can’t get to without cutting a hole somewhere. Every time that happens, I’m freshly overwhelmed with wonder at these living mechanisms God provided us with. They can seem so frail and weak in some ways, but then there are times when they rise up to confront and overcome incredible challenges. So, as the current pain reminds me that this astounding thing God created in His own image is busy repairing the hole and fixing the damage done to it, it’s a good time to think about bodies and to remember that God used our bodies to teach us some wonderfully encouraging truth in a larger context. Hopefully, this brief little post will encourage that.
Seeking Unity & Diversity ~
There’s no shortage of insistent and demanding voices permeating the atmosphere in our increasingly fractured country, but among the loudest and most insistent are the ones screaming for “unity” in some ways and “diversity” in others. In most cases, the unity they seek is all about form, while the diversity they want sabotages effective functioning. The unity and diversity issues so prevalent today are almost exclusively determined by things like the color of one’s skin, or their nationality, or their gender (assuming they can figure out what it is), or their sexual preference or political ideology. Many holding those views think those issues should rise above skills and abilities as a condition for employment. For me, my latest surgical adventure was a prime example of how ridiculous that could be.
My surgeon was a woman. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t confused about it, but I didn’t ask for clarification because it didn’t matter to me what her preferred pronouns were. What mattered was that she was thoroughly knowledgeable, expertly trained, and had proven skills in cutting therapeutic holes in people and in doing things to make them better once she got inside.
Some Things Don’t Matter ~
I’m pretty sure, too, that my primary anesthesiologist was a male, but I didn’t verify it, and I didn’t ask whether he was okay with being a guy. He also seemed to be of foreign descent, but I really didn’t care where he was born, so I didn’t ask about that, either. I cared about two things. I cared about his competence in putting me in a state in which I wouldn’t feel anything when the surgeon started carving on me with her scalpel. Then, when it was over, I wanted to wake up in the same world I went to sleep in. The rest didn’t really matter.
Diversity and inclusion are good things, but not when the concepts are used to fuel envy and promote conflict. God’s plan for weaving unity and diversity together is, as one would expect, pure genius. Our bodies are living illustrations of this, and in many ways, Jesus’ design for His Church mirrors that example. As the rest of my body devotes itself to taking care of the part that isn’t doing so well, I’m reminded of the powerfully encouraging analogy God gave us about how the Church is designed to operate. God inspired Paul to say it this way:
But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Corinthians 12:20–26 NKJV)
No Rejections ~
My leg is pretty banged up right now. It’s swollen, ugly, and painful and it won’t do any of its jobs very well, but the rest of me doesn’t want to shun it and act like it’s not important. All the other parts just want to gather around and do whatever they can to help it get better. None of the other parts are strutting about in their own little world trying to ignore the problem area because it’s wrecking their day. The ugly, painful part may be a bit annoying to all of them, but they don’t respond by making it hurt worse. My hands wouldn’t get any joy out of making demeaning or condemning gestures at the 7″ gash in my knee. My other leg has to work harder to make up for what the wounded one can’t do, but it doesn’t complain. It just tries harder to take the stress off the one that can’t handle it right now. All of me seems to realize that we’re in this thing together, and when the wounded part gets better, the voice will sing, the hands will lift up in praise, the eyes will contribute some joyful tears, and if the feet could dance, they would–but nobody would really want to see that.
Incredible Potential ~
Isn’t it wonderful when the Church of Jesus Christ reacts to one another like that? When God’s people bring all their diversity into the kind of harmonious unity that our bodies do when we’re hurting, it’s a demonstration of love and compassion that does incredible things. It not only speeds healing, it inspires others to want what Jesus offers.
I’m hoping the next time I see some part of the “one” Body of Christ that we all share, and that’s been beaten up in some way, that I’ll respond a little differently. I hope when someone else’s pain gets a little annoying or when someone’s wounds might even be a little ugly to look at, I’ll remember how I’m feeling right now. And I hope I don’t forget how the rest of me is handling the part that can’t contribute much to the rest of those other parts right now. But . . . maybe through the loving care that the other parts could share for a while, that could change. Think about that . . . It’s a lesson Jesus doesn’t want any of us to miss, so maybe we should pause a minute or two and look around to see where the hurts are and offer our help.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below. Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .
- “Diversity and inclusion are good things, but not when the concepts are used to fuel envy and promote conflict. God’s plan for weaving unity and diversity together is, as one would expect, pure genius.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “God’s plan for weaving unity and diversity together is, as one would expect, pure genius. Our bodies are living illustrations of this, and in many ways, Jesus’ design for His Church mirrors that example.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “When God’s people bring all their diversity into the kind of harmonious unity that our bodies do when we’re hurting, it’s a demonstration of love and compassion that does incredible things. It inspires others to want what Jesus offers.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
Check out Ron’s book, “Right Side Up Thinking in an Upside Down World ~ Looking at the World through the Lens of Biblical Truth”
The Kindle e-version is just $1.99. No Kindle device is needed. E-book readers are included on most computers, tablets, and smartphones. If you don’t have one, the free Kindle app can be easily downloaded directly from the Amazon site on almost any device.
Click here for a “Look Inside” preview at Amazon.
© 2021 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
Ron, Another fantastic and deeply needed message. I’m reading a book by Francis Chan called “Until Unity” that may be of interest to you.
Praying for a speedy and full recovery, dear friend!
Much love to you and your beautiful wife.
LikeLiked by 1 person
What a special blessing to hear from you, Beckie! Although, I have to say that it’s almost embarrassing to know that you’ve been reading about me complaining about my body parts that aren’t performing up to par after what you’ve endured–and still are. It’s paradoxical, too, that someone I’d love to see inundated with endless and immeasurable showers of encouragement becomes a wellspring of it for other people. But on the other hand, it sort of fits. God’s been using you in unexpected ways to do unexpected things to bless others for years, so why would He stop now?
So, thank you for taking the time to brighten our day with encouragement we don’t deserve, and thanks for the heads up about the book. I love the title and will check it out. And speaking of unity, as you already know, there’s a bunch of us out here who never see each other, but whose hearts are bound together with a determined commitment. All of us who love you and who have been the recipients of God’s gifts in you are determined to continue blend our collective faith and our prayers with yours and your family’s, and we’re not gonna cease until this battle is finally won.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Praying for a speedy and complete recovery for you Ron!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, Jason–just had to go in and fix a couple of things re. the knee replacement I had a year and a half ago. Some extra bond had grown where it shouldn’t have and was creating some problems. But things are getting better now and I’m grateful for the incredible things medical science has produced, but even more thankful for these living organisms God made that do so much healing by themselves. Speaking of which, we hope you and the family are all doing well and having a great summer.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Amen Mr. Ron! It never ceases to amaze me how Satan uses words that were meant for good, as God created them, and cleverly subverts them to cause division, distraction, and discouragement to so many. If they were sinful words, then we could easily detect them. Instead, he takes good and subtly subverts it to mean evil and sinful. Take the word “gay” for example. When I grew up, that word meant joyful, happy, content. Today it has been subverted to mean homosexual, deviant, and choosing a sinful lifestyle. This isn’t to say that gay people are bad, or to promote they all be cast into the fiery abyss, but rather to say they are confused, deceived, and deserving of our mercy, love, grace, and prayers. God loves those who are furthest from Him too. Far too many self-important, sanctimonious, religious zealots choose to forget they were once, and probably still are, every bit as sinful.
As for your most recent medical treatment. Know that you, and Ms. Diane, are in our daily prayers and that peace, comfort, and a full and fast recovery occurs. Like you, I’ always astounded at how our body can heal itself, and am so grateful for the medical advances that help it along. God’s blessings my friend.
Characteristically, my friend, in your insightful comment about how the world takes good, accurate, and beneficial words and perverts them to designate ungodly and destructive things, you have nailed one of the devil’s tricks that really gets to me. He and the world’s twisted system have managed to effectively hijack our dictionary in so many areas, and the fight to reclaim it is getting more intense all the time. God made it clear from the beginning that words are powerful instruments in shaping and guiding our thinking. No wonder there is such a concerted effort by the anti-Christian media to censor our words and curtail or eliminate our freedom to speak or write them. It’s sobering to realize that the devil didn’t invade the Garden of Eden and attack Adam & Eve with physical weapons. All the serpent brought with him were words that challenged and contradicted the Word of God, but it was all he needed to plunge the world into sin. I am grateful, J.D, for the powerful and encouraging way you handle words. You launch effective counterattacks all the time and you’re fighting the battle where it needs to be fought today. Thanks again for the uplifting response, and for the prayers. The surgery I mentioned didn’t involve anything life-threatening–just another one of life’s reminders that healing sometimes hurts. By the way–sorry I missed you on Thursday night.
LikeLiked by 2 people