Series: The Law of Entropy | Part 1 | The Law of Sin & Death
This is Part 1 of yet another series, I’m breaking posts up so that they aren’t quite as long so bear with me as we go through these topics one by one, part by part. I tend to like to go into some detail on these posts so I hope you’ll stick with me as I do. I want to talk about something today that vexes every single one of us, something that struck me upside the head long ago and that’s vanity. It vexes me, if you think it doesn’t vex you yet, it will (and already does). As some of you already know, I suffer from autoimmune, systemic arthritis and the disease attacked my lungs and possibly other organs by now so I have lung disease and I’m probably already in heart failure, I’m 36 years old and I spend most of my days either in bed or in a chair, in pain that is so searing, that if I wasn’t getting some help for it, the thought of ending that misery would actually be tempting.
That’s not at all to be dramatic, the kind of pain I deal with every day, it seems unreal sometimes, even the finest movements like breathing, which just requires a few millimeters of expansion and deflation, can be excruciating if my rib cage (and spine) are inflamed from the disease flaring up in that part of my body; it’s pain that most cannot even imagine, I certainly never could before this all began.
To be clear, I would never hurt myself, but the kind of pain I’m in, sometimes I think about wanting to go home and be with God and my family who are asleep in Christ. It’s despairing that I try not to entertain because I still have a child to rear but I am human after all and the thoughts sometimes enter in like an uninvited guest that brings with them a whirlwind, one that loves to complicate relationships between wives & husband’s or makes dramatic and irritating messes between the closest of friends or destroys your home and then takes off. You probably know those kinds of guests, or at least know of them. That’s how I feel about these thoughts. I try very hard not to entertain them because they are distortions of reality, I often think when they arrive “maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow” and often I do, but sometimes it takes longer to get past them.
The Thorn In My Flesh
What I have is called Ankylosing Spondylitis but it’s incredibly aggressive in my family for some unknown reason, I am not the norm in this demographic at all, it’s said to be typically mild, at least for most people; though I’m beginning to wonder if many doctors simply don’t understand it, don’t listen to their patients, or maybe the disease is simply becoming more potent. It behaves a lot like a virus and sometimes I wonder if that’s not exactly what it is.
Almost every one of my joints are affected, only my left elbow and right knee are still pain free and even then, my left elbow has been having mini flare ups when the right one goes off. My elbow typically turns red as blood, it’s inflamed and the skin becomes cracked but these are deep crevices in the skin and it itches and HURTS constantly and causes some pretty intense numbness in my arm (probably from the swelling of the joint which can impinge on nerves that go through that tiny area). The left isn’t so bad yet but it’s definitely beginning there now too.
I have terrible pain in my spine (all of it but lumbar and cervical spine are the worst affected and show the most damage) which causes nerve pain down my right arm and both legs and it’s also in the joints in my hands and my feet. Last summer I watched as my pinky finger on my right hand swelled up and as the joint in the middle of that finger began to twist and bend in an unnatural way, contorting my finger. I could see as the process of joint destruction progressed over a period of less than three weeks, even touching the skin lightly on the outside of the joint sent a burning and sharp pain up and down my entire finger as well as the side of my hand & my knuckle until it finally abated. Only weeks later, it left a distorted and twisted joint in its wake.
That was the first time I could see visible damage happening to a joint right before my eyes and it made me wonder; if this disease could do that over a period of three weeks, what was it doing to my insides? What was it doing to the parts that I couldn’t see but that I am all too aware of every second of every day as it aches, sears, stabs and burns and as the disease burns through every joint (and even muscle, ligament and organ) in my body? The parts that I dare not complain to my doctor too much about for fear that he feel as if he isn’t helping me at all, that I’m a lost cause that might be better just to give up on.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I wish he could live in this body for five minutes so that he can begin to understand what its really like to have a disease that is eating you alive, so that he can see just how much he is helping me; to stay out of a wheelchair (and that’s a BIG plus), he’s helping to keep me out of bed for at least a few hours out of the day and he’s keeping me out of unspeakable pain that words simply cannot describe. The pain I’m really in that’s even worse than it currently is but the meds help to cover up so I’m not crippled in a wheelchair, crying just to breath. My words cannot do justice to the agony of every calculating step and breath even now and I don’t want to even think about what it would be like without that help. I wish I could break through to the idealists that they might understand what it is like to live in a body that is not only determined to kill you, but which has become a prison that you are perpetually chained to, no hope of escaping your own flesh; no radical autoimmune diet, no expensive biologic med, physical therapy or chemo can ever really touch it because we just don’t really know how to fight it when its this aggressive. Like Paul, this disease is my thorn in the flesh, it keeps me humble and perpetually at the foot of the throne, relying on God for everything and His grace is sufficient, it will get me through this life until it’s time for me to go home. It’s my cross to bear and I must bear it for Christ suffered for me, the least I can do is try to bear it with grace.
The Prison That Is Vanity
This disease is vanity. That is entropy. What a vain thing it is, useless in its futility to do anything but destroy and steal from me even that which I have. The flesh is nothing but thorns. But I read my bible, one of the few things that bring me comfort because its the only thing on this earth that gives a believable explanation for all of this suffering and I can never get over the beauty of Romans Chapter 8, the following verses bring me to tears. But why? Because I know all too well the prison that is vanity.
Solomon, thought to be one of the wisest kings who ever lived wrote a lot about vanity. But what is it? It is essentially the law of entropy which the Bible calls the law of sin and death. It’s the slow progression of deterioration that we see all around us and we see it in ourselves. My older readers and those facing chronic illness will understand this well, those of us who are or who have undergone the process of peering into the abyss that is our mortality, as Paul said so eloquently, we “groan together” in the bondage of corruption; the life and death of the flesh and even that of all creation; even the heavens will be rolled up as a scroll, the sun and moon will not give their light and the stars of heaven will fall. And though we walk after the Spirit, we still have to live in these bodies of death until the full scope of the law of entropy is realized and we draw our final breath in this flesh or, for those who are saved, until Christ comes again, whichever comes first but most of us will likely succumb to the vanity of death.
It is then that we will lift up our eyes either to everlasting life eternal, or everlasting damnation in eternal judgment. Until then, we are subjected to the vanity of these flesh bodies; we hurt, become ill (sometimes chronically so), and we experience the slow progression of age breaking down the machinery of our cells until they sputter out like an engine worn down by the ravages of time, perpetual motion and less than perfect maintenance, this in essence is entropy and vanity.
Our Suffering – Does God Care?
But why are we subjected to this? Why does God allow us to lose the people we love or allow terrible things to happen to good people? This is a question that, if left unanswered, causes some to fall away from the faith and even to become angry with God; assuming he is cruel or that he doesn’t care. He DOES care. People often say that if God created everything then he has no limitations but that’s not entirely true, God’s very nature excludes him from some things and we are going to talk about what those things are.
There are two things I know he will not and cannot do, one is that he cannot lie, and the other is that he will not interfere in the free will and agency of man and even angels. Why do terrible things happen to good people? The short answer? Sin. But who brought sin into the world? The dragon was first to fall but it was Adam that brought death into the world through his own disobedience. Our distant forebear who hearkened to the voice of his wife in the garden, who allowed herself to be manipulated by the very father of lies; the devil himself. But Adam was not deceived, he took of the fruit because his wife had and I suspect, he couldn’t bear to let her fall alone. So, who is truly to blame for terrible things happening? Well, Adam brought death into the world through sin and by extension, ourselves also.
Levi Paid Tithes – Before He Was Born
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Maybe you’re thinking “but we are born innocent”. Yes and no. When Adam fell, in a way we were all in Adam’s loins, just as Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek while still in Abraham’s loins; we all descend from Adam and Eve, we come from Adam’s seed and we were in Adam when he fell so by extension, we are born fallen from grace and we must search that grace out if we are to be justified. In Christ our sins are covered, He is the second man, the last Adam; we are in Christ and have eternal life through him. In Adam all die but in Christ we are made alive. It’s the flesh in which no good thing dwells as Paul in his wisdom said in Romans 7. It wasn’t just man that was subjected to the law of sin and death when Adam sinned but also the dust from which he came and from which all living things were formed. The entire creation is in bondage. Back to those verses that bring me to perpetual tears, consider these verses from:
Romans Chapter 8
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
Groanings Which Cannot Be Uttered
And what of our infirmities? Does God care at all that we are subjected to all of this uselessness, this pain of knowing that we are bound to such things? Look at verse 26:
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Living with a chronic disease that is slowly killing me, and I’m not being dramatic, I am going to die from this disease and some days I know not what to pray for, all I know is I’m suffering and I know that it will continue to get worse but the Spirit of God himself makes intercession for us when we know not what to pray with groanings which cannot be uttered. You can think of it almost as a painful emotion that is pulsing through your veins, all throughout your entire body from the depths of your soul that groans within you, the effects of which are meted out to the whole body like the collision of two combustible objects that create a blast radius greater than the objects themselves, the objects being you and what created the groaning; like two moving parts which aren’t meant to meet.
A Present Help In Times Of Trouble
But back to terrible things happening, we are not alone in this struggle. God is not simply a creator that decided to make something and then left, never to intervene or interact with his creation again, no, he is quite present and he sends the rain in due season on the just and the unjust alike and he doesn’t just sit about on a cloud all day doing nothing and he will never leave nor forsake us. Consider this verse for those who are of the family of Saints, within the same Chapter Verse’s 28-30:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
So not only does God work all things for our good, he also foreknew us, he chose us, he justified us through Christ his own Son and he will glorify us. Some days, these verses are all that get me through the day, knowing that someday, there’s something better waiting for me and for all who love God; a new body, one that no longer hurts all day or dies and one that will no longer be subjected to sorrow or the ravages of the created thing called time; our perfection.
When the scripture says that “all things work for good”, it means all things, even the evil which the devil and even man himself is accustomed to inflicting on others; God works all of it for our good. I have seen it with my own eyes in my own life too many times to ignore that truth.
It’s one of the promises of God and unlike man, God keeps ALL of his promises. I trust Him with my life, my soul and the lives and souls of those I love because I’ve had enough experience with God to KNOW that I can count on him even when everything and everyone else fails, he will not fail me, not ever. I wish I could share that with every single person and they could contract it like an infectious smile or the laughter of a baby but all I know to do is bring it back to remembrance so that it might edify those who read and hear it.
When things get hard as life inevitably does at times, we must remember that no matter what happens to us in this world, God is sovereign, he is in control, and his ways are higher than our ways. We cannot understand the mind of a man who rapes and murders a child, and sometimes we just can’t understand (unless revealed by the Spirit) why God would allow such things; but children are innocent in His eyes and all who are hurt to the death at the hands of man go directly to be with the Lord who made them. The crimes of men are not forgotten by God and they DO enter into judgment and consequences, we just may not always see it, but God is not slack concerning His promises and those promises include judgment of the unrighteous. Again, he will not intervene in someone’s choice to commit sin, but he will work anything for our good, even terrible things like that. Don’t ask me how, but I’ve seen him do it.
In the next part in this series we are going to do a little Bible Study and take a look at the end of the wicked, we will peer as through a glass darkly at what is to come of those who choose to remain in bondage; the bondage of corruption.
If you trust God, trust that he will mete out punishment to the ungodly. Our sins are covered by the blood of Christ, those who do not trust in him, the wicked of this world; their punishment is more than they can bear in the end. And we don’t take pride in that, those who have the Spirit of God in them mourn for those who choose this fate and they do choose it, there are many who go the path of destruction but we do not glory in it nor do we take revenge because vengeance is God’s and God’s alone.
Evildoers will be cast into the lake of fire, everlasting destruction; they choose a kind of perpetual entropy, in a state of everlasting despair, a kind of vanity that none of us can yet even imagine; the second death in everlasting darkness and torments. Part 2 will be a little dark because we are going to look at these ends, but I hope at least something in this series blesses you.