Late during December in 2015, I became very ill. The following 7 months became one of the most challenging times of my life. I was diagnosed with a chronic idiopathic illness. This illness could disappear as quickly as it came, or it could choose not to.
I took many different types of medication during those 7 months. This progressed into immunosuppressant therapy and steroids to knock back the flare-up. I didn’t deal with it the way I thought I would; I crumbled.
During the beginning stages of my illness there were talks of cancer. I remember the nights I was waiting for my results to come back. I was terrified and as a mother had begun to plan my children’s entire future “just in case.” More than anything I felt a peace that God would use anything for His ultimate glory. I felt honored to walk out whatever my diagnosis looked like.
As the following days unraveled, I felt closer and closer to God. I was trusting Him with whatever this looked like and believing Him for healing. On a Tuesday morning, I received the results that there was no need for further testing for cancer. (What a relief!) But my diagnosis was in limbo.
This was when I reached the point where I fell apart.
The unknowing and daily suffering made me feel like a victim and prisoner. After 2 months had passed my illness had only gotten worse. The doctors still weren’t 100% sure what was wrong with me. I was in turmoil. I would wake up covered from head to toe in hives, most days my eyes would swell shut a few times even my throat would close up. To sleep throughout the night, my husband and I would wet towels and ices packs that would line my body. I was taking so much antihistamine that I could barely keep my eyes open. But if I wanted to avoid the misery, I had no choice.
In the beginning, I would argue with God about my illness. I knew that if I didn’t argue with God over understanding, I wouldn’t feel fit to be His daughter. By month 3, I stopped praying. It was my subconscious prayers that had dissipated, but nonetheless, I stopped. I wasn’t seeing healing and no longer felt the need to plead my case to God. I trusted He was sovereign, but I didn’t understand His ways.
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Then I became frustrated. People were feeding me conflicting theology on healing. As a result, my deterred hope began to make my heart bitter. It was in this season of confusion and darkness that God asked me, “Even if I don’t, would I not still be worth praising?” I still don’t have all the answers about healing. I wish I did. I’ve heard every side of the coin with it, but I am overcome with the fact that even if He doesn’t God is still sovereign!
This is what I learned about the sovereignty of God. No matter what, He is faithful – Even when it’s not in the way we expect it to be.
My happiness and identity are not rooted in my comfort. Instead, my happiness is in who HE is and what can bring Him glory despite how I may feel about my circumstances.
I find it so interesting that I didn’t fall apart when thinking of a terminal illness. It was when I was faced with the unknown where I was stuck to suffer indefinitely. It was without treatment when I unraveled. As Christians we often lose our steps in the daily struggle.
When tragedy strikes, it’s easier to cling to God and to find hope. But when we are walking out a daily more mundane struggle, we can lose confidence and give up everything. I’m reminded of stories in the Bible when people comprise and give up. In these stories it’s almost always because they lose sight of who God is in the midst of the routine “momentary” struggle. Think about the story of Esau and Jacob. Esau gave up his birthright for a meal to satisfy his immediate earthly craving. He was weak and had allowed His momentary affliction to forego an inheritance set before him. (Genesis 25:29-34)
The world gave me conflict, but through the sovereignty of God, he gave me clarity.
As people continued sharing their views and theologies on healing and illness, I received a revelation from God. He clearly showed me that misunderstanding causes division and that is how the enemy operates. It was then that God gave me the understanding to see that I am still a student under His teaching. I don’t have to understand everything the Bible says but what I do need is to understand who He is. When we stand on the truth of “who” God is the enemy cannot prevail. Sickness has no sting because in everything God will be glorified.
In my searching for God daily to help ignore the illness and seek wisdom, in the refining of the struggle, I see God, I feel Him so immensely. He has not forsaken me. He has not forgotten me. The day my children (5 &7) began laying hands on me (unprompted) to intercede for my healing was a day I know God got the glory. I never asked my children to pray for me, but God prompted their hearts and ultimately for others to see God first hand working in the lives of my children.
No matter what happens in your life, remember that God is sovereign.
Let us never get lost in the details of our feelings or struggles but find our total hope in Him because we know that our God is a sovereign God.
My prayer for today
Father let us praise you always. Let us be overwhelmed by your faithfulness even when our situations and circumstances don’t look the way we’d expect them to. When we feel hopeless, remind us of your faithfulness. God, I ask that we never give up our inheritance for a momentary affliction. God give us strength when the small daily struggles threaten to overtake us. We know it is on the short trails we let our guards down and can be overcome. Give us our daily strength, father provide the mercies needed to complete each day. I ask that we overcome not in our own ability but in yours Lord. When we are weak is when you are strong. Strengthen us, refine us and allow us to glorify you through every season of our lives, Amen.