With Passover this week and the celebration of my Savior’s resurrection in a few days, I’ve been pondering just what His resurrection means to me. I thought you might appreciate reading what I wrote awhile back in my book, Why Am I So Tired? (And What to Do About It).
Once there was a chronic-fatigue patient who was a Mennonite mother with two mentally challenged children. Since this couple did not have the funds to hire full-time outside help, the mother of these children was required to care for them even when the only thing she felt like doing was sleeping. This was an example of a stress that cannot be easily set aside…
Like the Mennonite mother whose life is filled with stress she can’t avoid, you might not be able to do anything about some of the things that cause you fatigue. You might have to learn how to cope and live with fatigue, rather than completely eliminate it from your life.
It has helped me to think about my purpose for living, so that I can think long-term. If I only think about today or this week, I can get discouraged. However, if I realize that my life can still be productive and useful, even if I don’t have the energy others have, my outlook is a lot brighter.
The Bible says that, even with my best efforts at diet and stress management, I will still die someday. The causes of death are both genetic and environmental. We each receive our genetic predisposition to death from our parents, who received it from their parents, all the way back to Adam (Genesis 3, Romans 5:14, 1 Corinthians 15:22).
“For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).
Yet before we blame our parents, our distant ancestors, or even Adam for our health problems, we need to remember that some of our problems we’ve brought on ourselves. Each time we do something wrong, we bring death to our cells. Each angry word, each anxious thought, causes havoc within our body systems, slowly killing us from the inside out.
“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
The death rate is currently 100%. No matter what we do, we can only postpone death, not escape it. I often like to joke with my husband that I need to trade in my body for the new model.
Death really is the enemy that we’ve been discussing. Dr. Edward Howell, in his landmark book Enzyme Nutrition, states that life ends when enzyme action is depleted beyond a certain point. We can make “deposits,” but we will eventually run out of energy.
The Bible says that the process of death is at work in all of us because each of us has sinned. In the Bible, God told Adam that if he ate of the fruit God told him not to eat, he would surely die. The Hebrew says that, “dying, he would surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The moment he ate that fruit, the cells of his body began to die, finally culminating in the death of his entire body.
When my daughters see a new rose on my rose bush, they love to pick it and put it in a vase on the dining room table. We certainly enjoy its beauty and lovely fragrance. However, as pretty as it looks, is the rose alive? No, it has been disconnected from its source of energy, and it is dead. Dying, it will continue to die until it is wilted and brown and ugly.
When we choose to rebel against God, even in such “small” sins as anger or worry, our bodies are disconnected from God, our true energy source. We may still look alive and healthy, but “dying, we will surely die.” Just as I can extend the beauty of a rose by placing it in fresh water in a vase, I can extend my days by eating right, getting proper rest, and changing my lifestyle. However, I will still die.
Since death is inevitable for each of us, we need a solution! The miracle of Jesus’ life is not that He was just a good person, or that He healed the sick and was a wise teacher. The real miracle is that He conquered death by coming to life again after being dead for three days and three nights. When He appeared to hundreds of people after His resurrection, it dramatically changed their lives. Why? Because they realized what Jesus had been trying to tell them:
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).
Just like Jesus came back to life, in a physical body that was now “imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44), He offers to resurrect our physical bodies, and to give us new life. Instead of being weak and fatigued, we will have health, power, and eternal life.
“Messiah has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Messiah all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
The Bible says that all will be resurrected, some to life and some to eternal death because of their refusal to put their trust and faith in Jesus. For those of us that have “called upon the name of the Lord” (Romans 10:9-13), we will be saved from the death penalty under which we live.
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:
“’Death has been swallowed up in victory.’
‘Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
At this point, death no longer becomes something to fear. We realize that our physical bodies are deteriorating, but we have confidence that we’ll get “the new model” someday, a body that will never get weak and sick.
Because we take eternity literally, we see others around us and wish to share our hope with them and to rescue them from certain death. The Bible says that we have been given unique gifts and abilities that we can use to serve others (Ephesians 4:11-13). In fact, our daily suffering and battles with poor health can be used to minister to the needs of others around us.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God… If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-6).
If I had never gotten sick with Addison’s disease, I would never have been motivated to research and write this book. If you had never struggled with chronic fatigue, you also would never have learned and studied.
Who else can you help?
You are alive because God has a plan for your life, ways in which you can serve others that are unique to only you. As you realize the grace and mercy that He has extended to you, even so far as to give you a resurrected body and eternal life, you can extend that same grace and mercy to others. Anger and bitterness will flee. Worry and fear of tomorrow will be gone. In their place, you’ll have new love, joy, and peace.
And you’ll use up less of your “energy bank account” in the process, which is like having fresh water each day in a rose vase, extending your beauty and usefulness into old age, if God should so will.
So what is your purpose in living? Having a reason to live gives you renewed energy and strength. Having hope of eternity helps you see life in an entirely new way. There may be days when fatigue gets the best of you, and on those days, you’ll just need to rest. However, in the long run, we can be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).