1 Corinthians 6:13-20 You can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. But they were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead. Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? … Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God. You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Last week my daughter Valerie explained to me why she prefers working night shift in the pediatric intensive care unit. “I became a critical care nurse because I love hands-on care for people. I guess I learned that from loving Karis. The day shift is too busy. At night, the rush slows, and the unit grows quiet. At night we give our patients baths. I can wash their hair, massage their aching bodies with lotion, talk to them, pray over them, sing to them. Often family members are present, and I can show them ways to love their child through physical touch and with their voices, even when a patient is in deep coma. Karis taught us that she was more aware of what was happening to her and around her when she was in coma than even the doctors realized. This is my favorite part of nursing—a way to give back, to pass forward the care Karis received from her nurses.”
For more than thirty years, I cared for Karis’s body. This was especially true at times when she was in a coma. But the time came when I could do nothing more for her. The slightest touch bruised her as one after another of her body systems shut down. I was deeply comforted when I learned God had sent three angels to be with her and care for her, the same angels who flew with her away from that ICU bed to Heaven. You can read the story in Karis, All I See Is Grace.
Knowing God cared about her body mattered to Karis and kept her motivated when she wanted to give up. Along the way, her scarred, steroid-compromised, bruised body lost much of what the world calls beauty. God gave her a vision of her scars on Jesus’ body (that story too is in the Karis book). Our bodies are part of Christ’s. That’s true for each of us.
So, it makes sense to care for our bodies, not out of vanity but to honor Christ. Our bodies are the vehicles through which God works: our hands and feet, our voices, our energy, our hugs and smiles and tears. He even works through our brokenness and pain, as he did with Karis. Even more, as he did with Christ. His resurrected body still bears the scars of his suffering.
It was necessary for the Son to be made in every respect like us… Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. Hebrews 2:16-18