The Hope of Wholeness

For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 30:17

I hadn’t seen what I’d call the “real Aaron” for about 2 months.

From the moment he had his cancer surgery in Boise on March 11, Aaron has been, to varying degrees, a shell of himself.

Yesterday I took Aaron to a foot doctor appointment. The nurse who checked him in made mention that on his last visit in 2018 he weighed 153 pounds. Ever since his diagnosis, he’s hovered between 125 and 130 pounds. That’s a lot weight loss.

Beyond the typical struggles of recovering from a serious surgery, Aaron has run the gamut of chemo side effects. He’s literally been impacted from head to toe: dehydration, dizziness, heartburn, various digestive struggles, bone pain, and numb fingers and toes. Overall, he’s been lethargic, weak and easily exhausted.

I’m still resolutely focused on the big goal of eradicating the cancer. But it has been difficult to watch Aaron’s body broken down in so many ways. In fact, because he was dragging so much, his doctor decided to give him a week off of chemo treatment in order for his body to regain some strength.

And, thankfully, due to the respite, Aaron woke up this morning resembling much more the person he was before this crazy journey started. He was bright-eyed and displayed his unique sense of humor. He didn’t need help moving around. He teased the dog. All without one complaint or mention of pain.

Since he’s only about halfway through his chemo treatment, we will very likely go through another season of struggle. But today gave me hope that in about a month we will get to see the “old Aaron” emerge for good.

And as I often do, I couldn’t help but tie a situation like Aaron’s to a bigger issue.

When I think of the big picture story of the Bible, it’s a message of God seeking to bring broken creation back to a place of wholeness and well-being. And part of that fallen creation is us!

As it stands, we are not the people God created us to be. We are broken. That’s because human beings, along with the entire universe, are marred and marked by the effects of sin.

Imagine God’s sadness to know that, although human beings were first created in his image and without fault, we now suffer from the consequences of our fallenness.

Simply put, we are spiritually sick. In fact, the Bible says that we are spiritually dead.

Romans 3:23 puts in like this: “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.”

This brokenness shows up in the ways we think, feel and act. Don’t believe humanity is scarred by sin? Just turn on the evening news.

Every human struggles in one way or another. No one is perfect.

Thankfully, humanity is not beyond redemption. There is hope for restoration.

Through Christ, God is actively working to bring us back to what was once humanity’s “normal.”

The Hebrew word that describes God’s goal for us (and all creation) is shalom. It’s a word that describes several aspects of well-being such as completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord

On earth, this work is spread out over our lifetime. Day by day, as we yield ourselves to God’s grace and power, God transforms our hearts, minds and wills to be more conformed to his perfect ways.

And when we leave this planet, we will, in a moment, be completely restored. We will have returned to the original condition God made us to be.

Today I got to see the “old Aaron” emerge from the cloud of surgery and chemo. The sad part is he still has about 4 weeks of chemo to go. And with it, another series of side effects. But when he’s done, I’ll be anxiously waiting for the old Aaron to return for good. I look forward to him having clearer mind, stronger body and lifted spirits. (And a fresh, new head of hair.)

Revelation 21:5 has Jesus offering a powerful promise to a sick, struggling universe: “I am making all things new.”

Because of this declaration, we can be encouraged by the hope of wholeness.

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