The apostle Paul wrote this in the book of Romans: "It appears to me that whatever we suffer now will show up only dimly when compared to the wonders God has in store for us. It is as though all creation is standing on tiptoe longing to see an unforgettable vision, the children of God being born into wholeness" (paraphrase by Macrina Wiederkehr, Seasons of the Heart).

This serves as a reminder that God is at work, even now, bringing healing to the world β€” for all of us. Consider now the ways that healing might have already started all around you.

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Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

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All runners run. Stretch. Pull. Push yourself. Breathe.

If you have ever been in training for a sport, a race, a contest of strength, then you know the exertion that comes with pushing yourself. You know the pain and pleasure of your lungs feeling like they could burst with so much air. It’s tough, but fulfilling and satisfying, too. On occasion, my body has surprised me with its endurance, strength, and speed. At other times it has totally let me down. My heart was sliding into home plate while the rest of me was stumbling around third base. These moments remind me that I am in a relationship with my body, but my body is not ME. I am so much more than my physical being. My skin, muscles, bones, and blood are a container for my spirit, soul, mind, ideas, creativity, energy.

Begin this week by acknowledging that YOU are so much more than your physical self with its limitations. You are created in the image of the one true God.

Valerie Burton

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I breathe in the Spirit of you, O God, that I might be filled. With your Spirit in me, help me to see myself as you see me. Help me to see my neighbor as you see her. Help me to see my friend as you see him. Help me to see my enemy as one who is also created in your image. Amen.

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Paul also wrote this (in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10): "...but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong."

Go now confident even in your weakness, in your sorrow, in your shortcomings, knowing that even in the middle of it all, Christ remains powerful within you.

Valerie Burton

Valerie Burton lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Allan, their sons, Carter and Marshall, and dog, Byrd. She is the minister for Christian formation at Baptist Church of the Covenant. Life is good when there is coffee and a fire in the fireplace.

O Love How Deep

Nathan Hanson

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