Body on Loan from God

In the days since a cancerous tumor was lifted from my chest, I’ve thought a lot about this earthly body, the one God created for me nearly 60 years ago. These days, I am certainly aware that my body and I are on the downhill side of life.

If I’m lucky (or maybe not), I could spend another 20 years in this sack of bones, muscle and skin. No doubt this recent encounter with exploding cancer cells will not be my last health issue, nor was it my first. As a friend and I joked recently, we’ve all been dying since the day we were born.

It helps to remember that this body, this “temple” of heavenly design, is not my eternal vessel. It is a disposable wrapper, serving a purpose and giving a visible image to the soul God set inside when He first knew me in my mother’s womb. To borrow a notion from my husband’s favorite conservative radio personality, I have a body “on loan from God.”

A wise little girl awakened in me thoughts about our heavenly bodies years ago when she described the day she would be able to walk into Jesus’ arms. This little one, now a grown woman, hasn’t been able to walk or stand unassisted for more than a few seconds since birth. A neurological defect took that ability from her, but in its place God set a sweet spirit and blazing faith that have carried her more miles than I’ll ever walk. Brown eyes snapping, little Gertie told her mother’s friends that she couldn’t wait until she gets her new body in heaven, so that she can run with the other children…….and stand beside Jesus.

Yesterday, a dear friend who is walking his own journey with cancer asked me how I’m seeing life these days. “How has your perspective changed?” he said. I know that his has. A beloved husband, father to six and “Papa” to four grandchildren, he knows what he will leave behind should cancer take him from his earthly home. I’ve seen him cherishing each day with his family. And I’ve watched him grow closer to his Lord and Savior.

This friend pointed me to words of another who has tasted the word “cancer” on the tongue, and who is anointed by God to speak hard truths full of the Holy Spirit.  In his book “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”, author and pastor John Piper says this:

“We will waste our cancer if we don’t hear in our own groanings the labor pains of the new creation.”

Piper points out that “glorious freedom is coming” — freedom from sin, from pain, from these earthly bodies that will fail us.

“Don’t misinterpret your own groanings. Don’t waste the witness of your own cancer,” says Piper. “The aim of God in our cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.”

So, I’m reminded that God doesn’t waste anything, that this cancer is part of His plan for me, and that He will use it for good…..is using it even now. Today, that good is to draw me deeper into His Word, to cause me to lean into Him for strength, to turn toward those who love me enough to walk alongside in this journey. And, to set my eyes on the day I can stand perfect and whole beside my heavenly Father.

I got the answer I prayed for yesterday — the tumor is gone and no cancer cells were left behind. I will be writing my own answer to a bigger question in the days to come: How will I choose to spend the days I have left walking on this earth? If I take John Piper’s advice, I’ll choose not to waste this thing that God has allowed in my life.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal

weight of glory beyond all comparison” 2 Corinthians 4:17

I’m counting on that “glory beyond all comparison.”

26 Comments

  1. Tina Guijosa Murray

    Glory to God! He has much more for you to do Ingrid. You are a blessing to me and mine, and we love you dearly. Surely we know God has promised no one tomorrow, and if our life be taken by Cancer, or just natural causes, May we learn to live and love glorifying our Lord. – Love from, One cancer survivor to another ~

  2. Tina Guijosa Murray

    Glory to God! He has much more for you to do Ingrid. You are a blessing to me and mine, and we love you dearly. Surely we know God has promised no one tomorrow, and if our life be taken by Cancer, or just natural causes, May we learn to live and love glorifying our Lord. – Love from, One cancer survivor to another ~

  3. Karen Selby

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ingrid. We have a man in our church that comments often that his cancer is a blessing from God. What a perspective. I especially liked your comment about the new bodies we will have for eternity. The effects of sin cause us to be on a downward spiral with these bodies….but when we finally see our savior face to face, we will have new bodies. I often think about my dad, whose body was crippled during his teen age years by polio. I was especially comforted when I envisioned him dancing on the streets of gold the same day I watched him take his last breath. “..so we comfort one another with this hope”.

  4. Karen Selby

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ingrid. We have a man in our church that comments often that his cancer is a blessing from God. What a perspective. I especially liked your comment about the new bodies we will have for eternity. The effects of sin cause us to be on a downward spiral with these bodies….but when we finally see our savior face to face, we will have new bodies. I often think about my dad, whose body was crippled during his teen age years by polio. I was especially comforted when I envisioned him dancing on the streets of gold the same day I watched him take his last breath. “..so we comfort one another with this hope”.

  5. Praise God! He answered your questions to that Emma Cafe Conversation in such a large way. Oh, dear friend, I love you and I lover our God for being gracious today this day. Oh, I can’t wait to hear what He is going to be speaking to you!

  6. Praise God! He answered your questions to that Emma Cafe Conversation in such a large way. Oh, dear friend, I love you and I lover our God for being gracious today this day. Oh, I can’t wait to hear what He is going to be speaking to you!

  7. Laurie Sherck

    Ingrid- Thank you so much for your words. They cause me to pause and evaluate “my body on loan” and what God wants me to do with it and the circumstances I’m faced with on a daily basis. Thank you for allowing God to work through you.

  8. Laurie Sherck

    Ingrid- Thank you so much for your words. They cause me to pause and evaluate “my body on loan” and what God wants me to do with it and the circumstances I’m faced with on a daily basis. Thank you for allowing God to work through you.

  9. Wilma Classen

    I just realized you were on this journey. I pray God will be so close to you and fulfill his purpose through this chapter of your life. He is so faithful to do just that. When I went through my journey five years ago, God told me to find the joy in it. That seemed kind of strange for cancer, but he certainly had lots of it there for me. He used it to teach me things that I never would have learned otherwise. With your sweet spirit and ability to write, I know he will use this as a platform to reach others.

  10. Wilma Classen

    I just realized you were on this journey. I pray God will be so close to you and fulfill his purpose through this chapter of your life. He is so faithful to do just that. When I went through my journey five years ago, God told me to find the joy in it. That seemed kind of strange for cancer, but he certainly had lots of it there for me. He used it to teach me things that I never would have learned otherwise. With your sweet spirit and ability to write, I know he will use this as a platform to reach others.

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