Outwardly wasting away; inwardly renewed

Someone joked online recently about a virus-related health questionnaire asking if she had any aches and pains. (I haven’t run across that one yet, have you?) She chose to answer “No more than usual.” I’ve been thinking how I would answer if confronted with the same question at the beauty salon today.

In our worldly existence, we’re all subject to aches and pains–and worse, and we spend a lot of energy trying to prevent them ,dull them, and cope with them in various ways. Even our brains are subject to deterioration.

My beautiful, intelligent, and godly mother almost made it to her 99th birthday. She survived breast cancer and enjoyed excellent health most of her life but she did suffer with dementia during her last few years. Although she never forgot her family members or had major personality changes, I felt her quality of life was greatly diminished. I still wrestle with “why?” and I confess some of my questions are mixed with concern about whether this will happen to me, too.

Because of her faith in Jesus, I know Mother went to heaven, where she longed to go for many years. Sometime after her earthly body wore out completely, I rediscovered a scripture which put a balm on much of the discomfort I felt about what I’d categorized as her “ignominious” final years. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 showed me there’s more going on in the life of a Christian that meets the eye, or than we can feel as we go about our daily activities.

Reading, one of Mother’s greatest pleasures next to music, became difficult. Fortunately, she’d been an eager Bible student throughout her life and hidden scripture in her heart when her mind was sharp. I discovered a stack of her memory cards which reminded me that these truths were still in her heart when she could no longer read or understand. Supernaturally, the Holy Spirit was using them to renew her inwardly, when all I could see was the wasting away of her earthly body.

When Mother could no longer pray, Romans 8:26-27 reassures me that the Holy Spirit intereceded for her, perhaps using as fuel some of the scripture that she had memorized.

As I try to hide God’s Word in my heart, too, I’m reminded that God does not abandon his creatures. Even as I search for the verse, Psalm 92:12-15, which I supposedly memorized, I’m reminded that the Lord does not abandon his children (the righteous). He helps them continue to bear fruit as they age, and as they waste away outwardly, they are renewed inwardly day by day. Even though I don’t always understand His ways, “he is my rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

Happy Birthday in heaven, Mother!

3 thoughts on “Outwardly wasting away; inwardly renewed

  1. Hi Pam,

    I just wanted to take a minute and tell you how much your post meant to me. My 95-year-old Mom passed away last August and my experiences at the end of her life were much like yours. Perhaps our mothers will meet in Heaven soon if they haven’t already! PTL for the hope and reality of eternal life, but you really captured the feeling with the word “ignominious”. Thank you for the reminder of 2 Corinthians 4:16-17. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

    The anniversary of Mom’s death and NEW LIFE is August 12. I am taking the day to visit her grave and remember the oh-so-many wonderful times. Sounds like we both had great Mom’s who pointed us to Jesus. What a priceless gift!

    Again, thanks for this lovely post.

    In Christ,

    Jan Elder

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