Recently, I had an itch on the left side of my back which I thought was a bug bite. After several days, I had my wife look at it because my skin was very sensitive, the pain even wrapping around to the front of my chest. She told me I had a rash. And then on Sunday after the morning service, my sister-in-law revealed to me that I probably had shingles. The next day, Dr. Shane Machen on 17th street confirmed it. Ouch. All I know is that shingles is quite painful. I compare the affliction to severe sunburns on my back and chest, intermingled with jabbing needle sensations just below my heart. I am not looking forward to the postherpetic neuralgia. As a 6’2’’, 179 pound, 42-year-old man, I realize that my body is wearing down. My blood pressure is alright – 108 over 70. My pulse is low – 65. But despite my seeking to eat healthy, to exercise somewhat regularly by running, I am dying. More white hair. Less hair. Just wait till I turn 50. 60. And if God is gracious to me – the big three score and ten years.
If this life is all that there is, I would think that for the next 30 years I ought to suck every earthly pleasure I can out of this fleeting existence. I should probably stop being a preacher in Idaho Falls and live for the moment. I should latch on to the hedonist philosophy – “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we are all going to die” (I Corinthians 15:20, cf. Isa. 22:13). Shouldn’t I just live for myself? Protect myself? Why sacrifice? Why risk?
Yet we know that this life is not the end. We know that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the grave. He is the firstfruits of a great spiritual harvest that will take place here in the city. The gospel has been preached steadily in this town for 130 years. Imagine the bodily spiritual resurrection that will take place in the days ahead. An explosion of spiritual, material glory.
Through the gracious, resurrection power of God, I will gain a spiritual body. A celestial body. I will be able to do some slam dunks over Christian brother, Jeremy Lin. I will be able to ride a buckin’ bronco with Todd Pierce. More than that, I will bear the image of the heavenly Man (I Cor. 15:49). Hallelujah!
Easter is comin’ to Idaho Falls.