Joe is a 68 year old former Marine with a peg leg, who shows up each morning at the local swimming pool to work out. Years ago during training maneuvers the wind blew his parachute into high tension wires. As thousands of volts coursed through his body, his leg was burned off and a significant portion of his flesh sustained severe burns. Clinically, Joe died, but the crash to the ground revived his heart and somehow he survived!
From all appearances, Joe has made peace with his peg leg, as he hobbles from place to place, swims, and generally gets on with his life.
Perhaps Joes experience illustrates the paradox of the Christians earthly pilgrimage: We live with pain and imperfection. Yet we learn to get on with out lives.
The Psalmist wrestled with lifes peg leg – our pain and imperfections, when he cried out:
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psa. 13:1,2)
Yet amidst his anguish, he tasted faith and joy:
I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me. (Psa. 13:5,6)
The reality is that even with Christ, we will live life with a peg leg, so to speak, in our:
Struggle to gain victory over sin: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I doFor I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it outWhat a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through , Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom. 7:15,18b,24,25a)
Striving for triumph surrounded as we are by crushing pressure: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8,9)
Could it be that our biggest problem with discontentment or disillusionment is that we want even demand Utopia with Christ while on this earth? And could it be that God allows imperfection, pain, and struggles into our lives a peg leg if you please – to teach us the uncommon traits of patience and contentment?
It is comforting to know that Christ assures us of His conquering power and inner peace amidst lifes afflictions:
In Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (Jn. 16:33b)
QUESTION: With His help, are you Marine enough to choose to live graciously with your peg leg?