You Make Me Feel Brand New
“You make me feel brand new…, cuz I’m in love with you….”
The oldies song played over the speaker system. I listened to the words, lying flat on a hard table that moved thru the PET scanner. It was a lonely situation. My husband was far away in the waiting room. The radiology technicians and doctors were behind a thick wall, peering through a special glass, well protected from the radiation beams. Figuratively speaking, the huge scanner machine had my cancer diagnosis written all over it. The outside world was moving along, oblivious to what was happening in this room.
I was tired. Everyone was so kind and gentle, but my body was pushed, pulled, poked, invaded.
For the moment my head was out of the tunnel, and I could hear the words of the song: “You make me feel brand new”….but Lord, I’m SO tired! I just want to go Home! Why do I have to stay and go through all these therapy loops? Why do I have to owe others so much?
“Cuz I’m in love with you.” Yes, being in love is refreshing! It is energizing! Am I in love with you, Jesus?
And then I got to thinking…who exactly am I in love with? Who is the Jesus of the Bible, the REAL Jesus?
Creator of the Universe…yet yielded to Death
I’m sure you can think of more descriptions. He is each one of those words at all times, through all generations. He is the Servant and the Master simultaneously. He is the Loved and Rejected One simultaneously. He is the Conqueror and the Submitting One simultaneously. He is the Miracle Worker and the Suffering One simultaneously.
As I lay alone on that table, I was swept up in the realization that He covers the whole scope of human existence! No matter where we are at this point of time on that scope, He is there, personally identifying with our experience.
And regardless of where we are in Life, He invites us to abide in Him, to share His identity, to sense His one-ness with our experience.
And in that one-ness, we become “brand new” as we are united in love again with Him.
I think Paul understood this. He was suffering for the sake of others….and I mean SUFFERING. Yet in that suffering**, he was united with Jesus and he was being made “brand new.” Although PET scans were not around in Paul’s day, he could have written these words at UNC, going through a lonely scanner (2 Cor. 4:7-18, ESV):
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Paul could have written this oldies song! “You make me feel brand new…I’m so in love with You.” One day, through faith and faithfulness, we will be fully united with the One we love. But for those of us who have embraced Jesus as complete and only Savior, we can begin to experience that oneness now. No matter where we are in the spectrum of Life, He is there, experiencing it with us. We have only to fall in love with Him and allow that unity to touch our spirits.
(**Note: I said “in that suffering,” not “because of that suffering.” Suffering in and of itself does nothing for our relationship with God, though many Christian institutions teach this idea. It is our faith, our oneness with Jesus while passing through the suffering. that determines spiritual gain.)
December 12, 2009