Health... it's something we don't think much of but it's the very thing that keeps us moving in an onward upward direction in this life. We wake up and we scurry here and there in our overly scheduled lives unaware of all the ways our Creator sustains us through our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies. We are blissfully unaware of all the millions of things going on within that sustain and keep us alive to see another day. Take the heart for example… how amazing is it that it pumps some 2000 gallons of blood through it's chambers every single day and that it beats around 100,000 times. That the glands in our mouths produce around 1.5 liters of saliva every day and our kidneys filter around 2.2 pints of blood every minute. And if that wasn't amazing enough the cells in our bodies are constantly regenerating themselves without anything prompting them so that every 10 days you have a new set of taste buds, new nails every 6-10 months, new bones every 10 years, and a new heart every 20! I don't know about you but I find this all fascinating!
But isn't it the case that we don't know the value of something until we've lost it? This is often the case with our health...or rather our lack thereof. We take it for granted, feel invincible, and ignore the reality that our bodies are mortal, and that death is inevitable. It is the great equalizer to all mankind and there is no escaping it. The fatigue and sickness that we experience is an unwelcome reminder that our bodies disappoint us, fail us, and leave us limping along all while our spirits groan within us to be made whole again.
This is my experience with Chronic Lyme Disease and this is my journey back to health.... my red sea road. It's one that has been wrought with fear, hopelessness and at times depression. Placing one unsteady foot in front of the other with a raging sea all around me and fear weighing down heavily on my already weary soul. I felt as though I was being crushed by a burden far to heavy for my soul to bear. In my mind my future looked clouded and obscure and I didn’t know if there was another side to cross over to, let alone what it would look like for me.
With my body weak and each day a challenge I had no strength of my own but solely relied on Him to give me the strength to continue and to do what we as believers are called to....to "hope for what we do not yet have " (Romans 8:25). I reminded myself that "a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out" (Isaiah 42:3). This bruised reed was a perfect description of how I felt emotionally, physically and spiritually. I often hear people throw around the phrase that "God will not give you more than you can handle" and while I know the well intentioned meaning behind it the very theology of it doesn't add up. Sometimes God does give us more than we can handle...and sometimes it breaks us to the core and brings us to our knees in a place of utter desperation, fear, and helplessness. When the burdens we carry begin to crush us we soon realize we are powerless and the well wishes and the platitudes only go so far and eventually prove to be insufficient.
But it is in this very place when we let go of the control that we perceive is ours and realize our own inadequacies that we truly begin to believe that our "help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). That God, in His wisdom and sovereignty allows sickness, pain, and suffering in this world and that no person is immune to this.
"If we understand the providence of God and love the God of providence, we are able to worship Him with the sacrifice of praise He inherently deserves when things occur that bring pain, sorrow, and affliction into our lives. This understanding of providence is vital to all who would worship God. It is a worship of faith that is rooted in trust" - RC Sproul.
God allows our suffering so that He may be better glorified in and through us "that the testing of your faith produces perseverance" (James 1:3) and that His power would be on display in our life even through our brokenness and weakness.
We are needy people who rely on our Creator to sustain our days and to sustain our health. By the grace of God and with the prayers of many on my behalf I am able to continue despite the physical challenges and emotional battles each day brings. Each week involves doctors appointments, blood tests, IV treatments, and more prescriptions and supplements. Eventually finding a doctor who was able to recognize and identify the source of my health problems, I am no longer bedridden but on track to put my Lyme disease into remission. Although not there yet, the journey continues and the fear of drowning and succumbing to this illness is in the rear view mirror. The road leading up to this point was long and the treatment ahead is extensive but the hope I have makes the impossible seem possible for the first time in years.
We all have our own red sea road at some point in our lives. Yours may look different than mine in many respects but it is one that has been designed and tailored for you by a God whose love for you runs deeper than any earthly love. The fear and despair may seen overwhelming at times and as though you are being tossed against the stormy sea on the verge of drowning. Take heart! Your God is near and He holds you near. Instead of wrestling tirelessly against the waves and feeling beaten down over again leaving your soul weary, embrace the Rock of Ages who is a safe haven for you. A CH Spurgeon once said in the midst oh his own trials...
"I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages" -CH Spurgeon
See it as God's work in your life so that your walk with Him may be deeper and more fruitful...your influence far reaching, your ministry wide. No longer despise those waves He sends your way nor fear your red sea road for He walks with you and beside you as the waves crash and beat against you strengthening your feeble knees to endure and persevere.