By Daniel Teater
Have you ever met a walking talking real life zombie? A zombie is a fictional depiction of an infected human who is brought back to life through some sort of supernatural power. Zombies are no longer fully human. Their humanity disappears, and we are left with a being that only palely reflects the human they once were.
The type of zombie I’ve just described is obviously a creation of fiction, but human beings can exhibit zombie-like characteristics. Anything that dampens the full expression of human dignity and causes us to function “less than” what God designed us to be qualifies as a zombie-like symptom.
When human beings live as if they were dead they are exhibiting zombie-like characteristics. This deading shows up in every facet of our humanity: cognitively, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and socially. We become lethargic and numb. We lack energy and enthusiasm. We settle for comforts over creativity. We isolate rather than engage. And slowly we become a shell of our former selves unable to think, feel, and act like we once did or desire to.
In our own personal stories, we often can spot these types of symptoms in our stories. We bury the pain of our suffering and became angry and numb. In so doing our humanity is deadened and we become a walking shell of ourselves. This is not God’s design for you.
I encourage you to examine your own heart and reflect on ways you are exhibiting characteristics of death in your own story.
- Where are have you become numb?
- What pain have you tried to ignore?
- How have you buried your hurt?
Jesus came to restore life (John 10:10). God’s grand plan involves reweaving life into the created order. To enter God’s kingdom means to find this new life in a way that makes us more human, not less human. Human beings fully alive were always designed to reflect God’s glory. God is interested in restoring cracked and damaged image bearers to re-image Him as he always intended. The world God created was “teeming” with life (Gen. 1:20). This is God’s vision for you as well.
Finding life though means dying first (Matt. 16:24-25, Gal. 2:20). The first step to experience the life God desires to give us is to experience suffering. We must die to our own commitment to live as controlling mini-gods over our own lives and voluntarily submit to to His control. We must relinquish and renounce all forms of control and gladly submit to our Creator and King.
God frequently will use our pain to drive us to this place of death. God never acts or says that suffering is a good thing. This would fly in the face of every aspect of his character. God does, though, choose to allow suffering as a means to bring us back to humble reliance upon himself. He invites us to face the reality of this broken world in complete honesty. As we do this we are able to find life once again and be restored to our full image.