Chronic illness has taught me to live a little more on the edge than I’d normally be comfortable with. It’s one of those love-hate things. I love that I’m learning to let go and trust God, but I also hate being sick…for obvious reasons!
Living on the edge means handling nerve-wracking surprises
I got one of these surprises the week before Christmas.
I am positive again for an Acute Lyme Infection.
First discovery of Lyme last summer posted here
Treatment of what was then determined to be only Acute Lyme posted here
(Premature) Celebration when my retest after treatment came back negative for Lyme posted here
Sitting in the doctor’s office with my husband while hearing the news felt like a punch to the gut. With eyes downcast and bottom lip hanging out in a pout, I tried to catch thoughts as they raced by. How? Why? What now? Before I heard the details, I already knew. It was actually Chronic Lyme Disease (even though the test was positive only for Acute Lyme), and the treatments will be far more extensive this time than before.
Still skeptical, I got another retest just to make FOR SURE for sure. January 8th I wrote in my journal
“Got the results late afternoon. I’m positive for Lyme. 🙁
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
(Shameless plug: Promo mug featured in the pic above is from my friend Bethany Kaczmarek, author of Strains of Silence. This quote is my favorite reminding me that stars can’t shine without darkness. Read my honest review here!)
Here’s the thing. No, I wasn’t expecting such a diagnosis. No, I’m not ready at all for treatments. Yes, I’m scared of what’s going to happen. Will I get better? How long will the treatments last? Will I be able to have children? Will the Herx reaction be tolerable? What have I gotten myself into? (Really, if you can offer any advice, I’m all ears!)
Here’s the other thing. I know that God is right here with me and He has a plan for every moment of my life, even this. He is my ever-present Savior. This gives me so much peace and hope!
The Truth About Trials
Since the diagnosis, I’ve read some Bible passages that have brought me tons of comfort, and I hope it can comfort you too.
Matthew 7:24-27 reminds me that trials have meaning. They reveal how strong my foundation is and if it’s rooted in God the Rock or not.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine [Jesus speaking] and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain [CRISIS!] fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain [CRISIS!] fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Deuteronomy 8:1-10 has also given me a new perspective on trials.
“[…] And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these 40 years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger […], that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these 40 years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. […] For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.”
If our foundation is on God the Rock, then we will live under his protection and in his grace even as he leads us through the “wilderness”. Tough times are meant to prepare us for when God brings us into times of blessing. I’m soooo looking forward to the “good land”!
Romans 8:18-24a paints an even brighter picture of the hope waiting for us.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. […] And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons; the redemption of our bodies.
For in this hope we were saved.
As we look to Jesus and see the bigger picture, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim/ In the light of His glory and grace.” (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus)
Over the last few weeks since my diagnosis, I’ve had to come to grips with why God would allow trials like this for those he loves. Verses like those written above have more than answered this dilemma for me. Everything has a purpose for the good of his children and his Kingdom, and if I’m ready to follow him in times of blessing, I should be happy to also follow through storms (here are two posts from last year about following God through storms “I Will Fear No Evil” and “Jesus Calms A Storm“)
May this passage always be in my heart and yours this year and beyond:
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. ~ Habakkuk 3:17-19