“We are not physical beings with a temporary spiritual existence; we are spiritual beings with a temporary physical existence.” ~ Chris Hodges
This is a statement my pastor made two weeks in a row in his Sunday message. Why? Well, it is pretty profound. I guess he thought so, too, and figured it was worth repeating.
As a nurse, I work in an environment where it is easy to forget this. I am constantly focused on the physical health, or lack thereof, of the patients that I come into contact with.
I love my job. I am fascinated by the inner workings of the human body. Take for example: the human kidneys. We have two, most of us do anyway, and without a lot of fanfare they go about the business of filtering out toxins and waste that our body needs to get ride of. Yet they do much more than that. They help to regulate, with striking attention to detail, our body’s fluid and electrolyte balances. For our bodies to continue to function, these levels must be keep in close check. The slightest variation, one way or the other, can throw us into a tailspin.
If I am not careful, I can let my attention to the physical overshadow the spiritual. It’s an occupational hazard, I guess.
This week I had the opportunity to focus on the spiritual part of one particular patient. It was a very moving experience for me. I wish I had the time and the liberty to connect with each and every patient in this same way. Tough diagnoses hit patients fast and hard. It’s as if the carpet has been snatched out from under them and they are left wondering what just happened.
After caring for her physical needs, I was invited back to speak to her spiritual needs. We talked about her diagnosis, her possible treatments, and her prognosis depending on what decision for treatment she made. Things were moving too fast for her. She wasn’t offered weeks to decide. Time was of the essence and she had been given just a few days to make her decision.
She was stuck, and being pulled in a few different directions. She needed clarity, focus, and hope. The spiritual part of her needed a rebooting. She was a believer and trusted her salvation to God, but I wanted her to remember there’s more to that relationship than salvation alone.
As I prayed over what to say to her, I was reminded of this Bible verse: 2 Timothy 1:17,
“God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind.”
She was understandably afraid of what was to become of her. But the last thing she needed to do was to make a decision out of fear. How often have we all said, I’m afraid if I do this or that, this will happen, or won’t happen.” What if every decision we ever made was made from a position of God’s power, His love for us, and a sound mind rather than out of our fear?
I have a few life philosophies that I try hard to live by. One of those being,
“Let’s not jump off that bridge unless we have to.”
It’s a very loose translation of the Bible verse that says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (Don’t expect to see “Stacey’s Loose Translation of the Bible” sitting next to “The Message” on bookstore shelves anytime soon.)
I don’t know what will become of this sweet lady. But I left her room after we prayed, believing she would be able to take her eyes off her circumstances and place them on the God of her circumstances. I believed also that she would be able to give each day back to Him, trusting Him for whatever she faced that day.
It is worth repeating:
“We are not physical beings with a temporary spiritual existence; we are spiritual beings with a temporary physical existence.”
Our lives here are but a vapor, a mist that fades quickly. As amazing as our physical bodies are, they are simply put- a temporary housing for the part of us that will live on forever. We focus so much of our lives on the physical part of who we are and sadly, let the spiritual part grow weak from lack of attention. A simple change in perspective is what we need to remedy this. We can do that, can’t we?