Today a symphony of thoughts exploded in my mind. I love it when God places a little thought here, and something to read here, and then something to listen to over here……with the purpose of having the fruits of each event join together into a beautiful moment of understanding the Maker better.
This week, I’ve been happily soaking in the colors of fall. Each year, I appreciate fall more. I love trees ablaze with colors. I love the crackle of leaves and the sound of acorns bouncing off my roof; I delight in the sound of the wind whistling through newly bare branches, and smell of harvest all around me.
This week, I’ve also been studying in I Corinthians with my small group at church. We’ve been in chapter 6, talking about how the Lord is for the body and the body for the Lord. About how we are not our own, we were bought at a price. During my study, I listened to a sermon by John Piper about this chapter, and He made the comment that our bodies are for eternity. I had never really thought that my “perfected body” in heaven would in any way resemble this body I have now. (Ahem, maybe I was thinking more “super-model.”) But, when Jesus died and was resurrected, He didn’t return in an entirely different body—no, rather his friends and disciples recognized Him. They knew it was Jesus because He looked like Jesus. And the glorious thing is, He plans to do the same with our bodies:
God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by His power.
I Corinthians 6:14
Now, this could be a discouraging piece of information if your body isn’t serving you well here on earth. If your body is broken and bruised. If your body has been abused, hated, or a source of grief. If it has deteriorated and disabled you from truly living. If your body is too big or too small, too old, too lumpy, too weak, too stressed, too sore. But, praise God, when we are raised up, we will be in our perfected bodies….recognizable, but a mere glimpse of the imperfection our flesh endured in this life.
There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”;the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 15:40-57
This week, I’ve also been studying trees with the children. Somehow, I have gone 31 years without ever learning (or maybe just not remembering) the following tree fact:
Green is NOT the true color of a tree’s leaves. Their leaves look green because of the sugary substance, chlorophyll. When fall comes and trees begin to prepare for winter, they require less chlorophyll, and it slowly drains from their leaves. This is when the true colors of the leaves reveal themselves.
So as I drove down the road this afternoon, these three thoughts collided, and for a moment gave me a better understanding of this life. As I drove through a small valley surrounded by fall leaves bursting with fiery reds and yellows and oranges, I thought of how we, too, are like the fall leaves. Now, we are green, and we think we are really living. But, little do we know, that when we are raised with Christ, only then will our true colors be shown, our perfected bodies revealed, and only then will we understand what it is to truly live. One of my favorite quotes is from C.S. Lewis in which he says:
“Nothing is yet in its true form.”
We are not yet in our true form. Creation is not yet in its true form. We can’t understand or fathom what that will be, but one day, it will be made known, and we will see that we have only just begun to live.