This is what it means to praise him at all times, to set myself before him and count it joy.
I don't know what it's like to live in a brothel or hide in a basement. I don't know what starving to death feels like. I don't know this kind of suffering or the full kind of suffering, what Jesus experienced in full for all of us.
The little thing I know is pain, and sickness. The kind that comes back and refuses to go away. The kind that keeps me from relationships... from giving love. High-maintenance pain. The kind that changes our plans in a second.
But to hold out my hands every time and say that time is really his, not mine. The relationships and people are his to feed, not mine. To make my body truly a living sacrifice, laid out on the altar that is my bed, able to do nothing "productive" for his Kingdom. This is it.
This is life to the full.
Life to the full is not jumping up and down at Bible camp. Life to the full is not the American dream – marriage, career, kids, house, activities. Life to the full is not standing on the top of the mountain breathless or running the marathon.
Life to the full is a life laid out helpless, praising Jesus Christ.
If suffering insists on companionship, well come on then, let's get going.
Because he has suffered to the full, for me, and I am freed from that. Being with him is more, better even than being with my family. Always, he is with me. He will not let this time be wasted; his great purposes for my little family are more than I can see. Praise to Jesus, he is working out my salvation. He is providing money, providing friends, providing his living Word to carry us each day.
Each day we can look back and praise him for breath. Sight. Literacy. Each other.
I will praise him from my bed and I will praise him in my house and I will praise him outside of here. This is my pleasure, the boundaries fallen in pleasant places. This is my body, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. This is my spiritual worship. Again and again, he will receive my praise.
It is enough – more than enough pleasure – so much pleasure it's overflowing even in my pain. To have pleasure in pain? Only a miracle worker could make that happen.
More love to thee.