chronic lyme disease with a taste of nut
So being a Christian, it certainly is interesting being tossed into the sea of medical thought and opinion. My faith tells me that God reigns supreme and He is in charge of everything. That means He is in charge of my body. I do believe that. The song above, “It Was Finished,” speaks to Jesus taking all of our sin onto Him and defeating death so that we would be free. It is finished is a powerful phrase to me. It brings comfort and yet it also brings questions. My treatment is just starting – hasn’t even started yet. We don’t even know what we are all dealing with yet. There are so many avenues and twisting roads. How can all that be finished? — Well, it is, believe it or not. My worry, my fear, my doubt, my anguish was all finished on that cross two thousand years ago. Jesus freed me and I am now able to walk in His strength, by grace. Some will balk at that and say, very understandably, “but you will be in pain; you are in pain. You can’t even walk right, how can you say you are free?” And I say – I can choose to accept the freedom found in Jesus because I know He conquered the very worst I could ever imagine (and worse still!). I know, by faith, that I need not live in fear and worry. That doesn’t mean I always live that out, though. It is very hard. And Jesus does say,
“In this world you will have trouble. But do not fear for I have overcome the world.”
– John 16:33
So while I know I will face trials and hardships, I don’t need to feel trampled by them or defeated. Jesus already won – it is finished! I can walk in victory and peace even while I’m limping and in pain. That sounds like such a dichotomy, but it is true and that is part of the mystery of Christ.
Having a chronic illness has challenged my faith in many ways – and my friendships with my Christian friends. Some dear friends pray fervently for me. Some dear friends tell me that I walk in fear and thus allow the illness to take root and get worse, thereby losing my footing in my faith walk. Some friends tell me to be a good health advocate for myself and do the research and yet always remember that I know the One Physician, the Only Advocate.
Still, some friends tell me I have unconfessed sin in my heart and that is why I am sick – to which i ask: what about Paul? He was quite the afflicted one, wasn’t he. He even begged God to take the thorn out (some differ on whether that meant a literal illness or if it meant a metaphorical struggle):
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
– 2 Corinthians 12:9
God showed Paul that it was His will that Paul be afflicted in this way, made weak in this way, so that he would look to God for strength and endurance and thus proclaim the only way he was getting through such hardships was by the strength and power of the Lord.
Paul is such a hero of mine. He was clearly afflicted – he was in pain. He was beaten and tortured, put in prison multiple times. He endured more pain than I can imagine. When I am at my lowest point, I read the epistles of Paul and take comfort in all he endured and how he endured it because it had such a beautiful purpose. And Paul didn’t go around whining to everyone about how much pain he was in – no, he openly boasted about how weak he was because the strength his friends and even strangers saw in him could only come from Christ.
So when friends tell me that my illness is a result of my own sin, I scratch my head and wonder if they’d say that to Paul if he stood before them.
Or if they’d say that to David, who suffered greatly and lived in fear for much of his life. The Psalms are full of his laments and cries to God – begging for some kind of relief. The amazing thing about David is that even in the midst of his beseeching God to let up on the suffering, he ended such psalms with PRAISE. He praised God right after he cried out to Him for help.
In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.
No doubt whatever news or treatment the future holds for me, my faith will be testesd. I already know that and I expect it. I am ready. It’s easy to say that in a confident way now, but in the moment it is very dark and daunting. But I’ve been in the dark and daunting places before and come out by the grace of God. I know He will be even closer to me in my times of need so I do not fear. I look forward to knowing an entirely new type of closeness with the Lord as I venture forth – as I choose to rely on God and not on a LLMD. As I choose to rest in God and not in my antibiotics. As I choose the overcoming perspective rather than the defeated one.
Right now, I do feel a bit like Job – what else can happen, Lord? So much has been taken, so much done. But even Job said,
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
– Job 13:15a
I feel a bit like Sarah, who laughed at the thought of God’s promise to her coming true. She just couldn’t believe it. I feel like Peter who was so often led by his emotions and impulses – so much that Jesus coined him Cephus, which means Rock (the antithesis to his personality – do you think Jesus was trying to teach him who he really was?) Even Mary, mother of Jesus, who felt so unprepared for the job of being the Savior’s mother, finally acquiesced and said to the angel – may God’s will for her be done. There are so many role models in the Bible, so many broken people us broken people can look to for guidance and strength. We are in good company. God had a habit of choosing the least and making them the most, the weakest into the strongest. May His will be done in me.
Oh, there are so many songs I’d like to post right now. I’m an aficionado of worship songs having to do with finding hope and freedom in suffering. For now, I’m going to post this very mellow and sweet song, “Please Be My Strength” by Gungor and maybe, in a David time or a Mary moment, you can cry out to God and sing this song…
One last thought: even Jesus cried out to God to spare Him. Jesus understands our suffering more than we can ever know. But that’s another post for another time.
— Lymie out…
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