And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. Colossians 1:27
Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:10
This is big stuff. This is the mystery. Paul writes that “this message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people.” (Colossians 1:26). And what is it? What is this big secret that is no longer a secret? It’s that Jesus Christ lives in us. I’ll write it again so we won’t miss it: Jesus Christ lives in us.
Now this is understandably a hard concept to grasp, and I can’t say that I fully understand it — that may be why he calls it a mystery — but somehow, in some unseen spiritual way, Christ takes up residence in our bodies when we believe. Do we see Him? No. Do we feel Him? Sometimes. Is He always there? Apparently so. I don’t see any evidence anywhere that He comes and goes. But that 2 Corinthians verse talks about the fact that “Jesus may be also seen in our bodies.” That’s about as close as I can get to the Visible Evidence of Christ, and the important thing about this is that it is our suffering, and our “share in the death of Jesus” that makes it possible for Him to be seen.
More people probably need to know about this, especially here in America where everything seems to be measured by the American dream. It doesn’t say that Christ’s life is revealed in us when we go skipping down the lane. Christ’s life isn’t revealed in us when we win the lottery. Nor is Christ’s life revealed in us necessarily when we are healed. (Ask Joni Eareckson Tada about that.) No, it’s primarily the suffering we go through that allows the life of Jesus to become visible. The Visible Evidence of Christ in our lives shines brightest through pain.
We have a dear friend, Jodee Herschend, who has been struggling with various forms of cancer for years. In and out of hospitals; in and out of treatment; thinking she finally licked it, only to have it show up again in another form or another place in her body. We just received word this morning that this time, the doctors have finally become overwhelmed. Time to pull her off meds and return home to whatever God will do. She’s been a fighter, so this is a hard turn to take. However, through all of this, the evidence of Christ has been visible in her life, even more than if she had fully recovered. Then she would have had a story to tell about how she gained victory. As it is, she has lived the story. It’s not some past victory, it’s the present power in the midst of the suffering. She doesn’t have a story to tell of her deliverance, she is the story. And now I believe the evidence of Christ in her life will be even more visible than ever.
The reason for this, I’m pretty sure, is about the contrast. The suffering in our lives should make us angry and bitter. When it doesn’t, something else is revealed. Something supernatural. The presence of God can be more readily seen shining through the clouds than in blowing the clouds away. Yesterday’s healing is no match for today’s power. Today’s power is the Visible Evidence, as Paul wrote, His power is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Whatever your struggles are, see them not as defeat, but as an opportunity for Christ to become visible in your life. For you are not alone, and you are not helpless. Christ lives in you. And that is your, my, and Jodee’s hope of glory.
When I went to bed last night, we were $9,271 short of our goal. When I woke up this morning, that number had dropped to $5,327! Last night it seemed daunting; now it seems doable, especially when we add another day. At the request of some of our Catch citizens who want to be able to take advantage of Friday payday, we are extending our deadline to tomorrow night. We are, honestly, blown away by your generous participation and your vote of confidence in our expansion programs. The end of our campaign is in sight. Help us finish this off!
Remember, $5,327 by tomorrow night and everyone giving $50 or more will receive a “Visible Evidence” T-shirt as a thank you. I can’t wait to get mine.