You Don’t Have to be Well to be Worthy 

In the movie fantasy The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Benjamin experiences the unusual life of someone who is born old and then as time passes, becomes young, in a sort of reverse aging. He starts off life as a baby, but as an old baby, with wrinkles and the joints and body of an old man. As time passes, he grows taller, but also younger. Daisy, his love interest, once asks him, “What’s it like growing younger?” Benjamin responds, “Can’t really say, I’m always looking out of my own eyes.” When the span of an ordinary lifetime elapses, Benjamin reverts back to a baby but without the memory of his life. It reminded me of the saying, “Youth is wasted on the young.” In the case of the movie, actually, we find that the youthful Benjamin has already lived a lifetime as an adult and an older man but was unable to benefit from living life older first. 

I don’t understand the mysteries of illness and aging, or of healing, of how the human body releases an army of white blood cells to fight off invaders like they are shooting asteroids in outer space, protecting the mothership. I don’t understand why some people get well and some don’t. But I do know this: we don’t have to be well to be worthy.

A Continuum

We’re all on a continuum of wellness and sickness, and we can be at any point on the line from one end to the other. We may have only experienced minor viruses so far or we might bear the scars from scaling the grounds of the darkest valley of infirmity.


But at some point in our limited days, we all will need healing of something. There are so many around us suffering silently, but we don’t necessarily know it because they hide it well. It’s easy to spot a broken bone; it’s not as easy to notice the broken heart or broken spirit, those who are worn out and the weary. Some are missing because chronic illness or mental illness renders them unable to participate in life fully. Many live with autoimmune conditions, where their own bodies attack themselves.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We don’t have to be well to be worthy.[/perfectpullquote]

Others live in a liminal space with no clear diagnosis, with no answers for their symptoms after dozens of tests and experts are scratching their heads. Our modern world doesn’t have answers for everything. Healing can be elusive, like the fairy tale elixir of youth we’d do anything to drink.


We deny or ignore symptoms in our own bodies, and push ourselves until our symptoms demand our attention. Sometimes, we’re shocked by new diagnoses we didn’t see gallivanting down the street, until they’re knocking down our doors, arriving uninvited and inhabiting our bodies without permission.


Sometimes, we ignore disease in others. It makes us uncomfortable, and we aren’t sure what to say or how to respond. Maybe the whirlwind of our own lives doesn’t slow down long enough for us to truly notice. Maybe we don’t want to be bothered. Maybe we’re secretly relieved it’s not our bodies presently at war with microscopic enemies.


In Varying States 

Our bodies are getting older each day, and every day that our bodies work to the extent they do is itself a miracle, with the millions of minute details that can go wrong.


The fact is we’re all dying, we’re all on the timeline from birth to death, in varying states of health. At any given day we exist at any point on the continuum, healthy, or in need of healing from the simplest cold, or from the most devastating illness.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We’re all on a continuum of health and sickness.[/perfectpullquote]

We want to fight this agonizing decline and long for a pill or magic glue to fix what isn’t working. Illness and death feel wrong to us.

Yet, this is the reality of our world.

Getting older isn’t itself a disease—though our bodies do fail and we have to attend to what’s failing. We are mortal bodies with finite lives. Our hearts don’t beat forever.


We can have plastic surgery or Botox or utilize other measures modern medicine offers to give the temporary appearance we’re still young, and Hollywood and media offer proof of this, but it isn’t truly reversing aging at the cellular level. We can’t reverse our age; there is no such thing as growing younger, as Benjamin Button did, who started life backwards.


The Question 

The question each of us has to answer is how are we going to respond; what will we do with this limited time we have, no matter our broken and bereaved state?

Living life to the fullest means recognizing our days are numbered; it’s precisely because we aren’t ignoring this reality that we can live more abundantly. We’re here now, whether or not healing is in our future.

When society and our culture tell us our purpose and worth are tied to youth, beauty, and wellness, then it leaves no room for aging or illness. The infirm and elderly are pushed to the edges, crowded out by youthfulness, vigor, and health.


In the west, we haven’t reckoned in healthy ways with illness and aging. Or with the idea that aging and disease divide us in categories of what we can and can’t “do”—and what we “do” is measured by economic productivity. Or, that our worth is wrapped up in being a flavor of “eye candy” in terms of physical beauty.


Yet we are much more than this—more than our productivity, more than our economic output, more than our illness, and more than fickle opinions of beauty. We aren’t defined by a lack of healing or our state of wellness. We are worthy, valued, and beautiful because we are, just as we are. 


[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We are worthy and valued and beautiful because we are, just as we are.[/perfectpullquote]


We can’t look to Hollywood or social media (or maybe even some of our friends) to support this message. No matter who else believes it, we have to believe it for ourselves. When God looks us in the face to tell us so, reminding us of this over and over, at regular intervals, all of our days, no one else can believe this for us.


Worth Everything

Life will try to push that thought away—and we have to choose to believe it, even when we don’t feel it, believe it, understand it, or think we know it. Am I worthy, despite my disease? My age? My appearance?


Our lives are fleeting—but they are worth something—they are worth everything, they are worth each and every moment of time spent here on earth, even in our various broken states, even in our grief, and with our broken bodies.

It’s part of our life here. Jesus came to heal because he knew this world is full of people who would need healing. He came because we are worth it.


I’ve witnessed miracles up close and I’ve experienced grief because of miracles that didn’t happen. I see aging up close as I watch my parents age before my very eyes. The same is true for all of us; we’ve walked (or currently walk) in dark valleys of illness or watched those close to us suffer.


[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Our fleeting lives are worth every moment spent on earth, even in our broken states. [/perfectpullquote]

If it were up to any of us, I’m sure we’d chose the restoration of health in all of its ways, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, sexual, psychological, for ourselves, for our loved ones, and yes, even for our enemies.

But what if it doesn’t happen? One thing still remains true: we are still worthy and loved.

Sometimes we’ll experience healing, and sometimes we won’t. We’re surrounded by mysteries and paradoxes, each and every day. Answers don’t come wrapped neatly in a bow for most of us. But here we are, precisely because we were meant to be, just as we are, and beloved.




Image Credits:

Cover image: Pixabay for Pexels
Woman on mountain, Min An for Pexels
Forest walk, Jon Flobrant for Unsplash
Lab, Jarmoluk for Pixabay
Woman with bike, Andrea Piacquadio for Pexels

Prasanta Verma
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2 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to be Well to be Worthy 

  1. “Living life to the fullest means recognizing our days are numbered; it’s precisely because we aren’t ignoring this reality that we can live more abundantly.” – Thinking on this, Prasanta. Grateful, sister, for your reminder to look beyond external value systems and back to Jesus.

    • I’m so keenly aware lately of how our days are numbered. Thankful for your encouragement, friend.

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