Is it even possible? Yes, for with God nothing is impossible. But we don’t easily find our way to Him, to have a heart right with Him, and to trust Him with all our being. An older cousin posted this on Facebook: “Living a nightmare ain’t living!” I know exactly where she’s coming from. We have exchanged notes and she is convinced that we have and suffer the same illness. She’s been diagnosed with MSA (multi-system atrophy). I hadn’t undergone the same rigid workup for I gave up early on, but the initial impression of the cardiologist who saw me was that I might have a degenerative disease, my vital organs might be degenerating. I understand that degeneration is another way of saying atrophy.
I always say that my illness affects my ANS (autonomic nervous system: cardio, digestive, respiratory). I see that as multi-system. My cousin and I compared symptoms and, indeed, we have the same. Her neurologist said it’s genetics. But that knowledge didn’t bring any comfort to me. After all, it didn’t lessen the suffering. She lives in the US so we can’t assist each other, but I’m doing my best to comfort and encourage her.
It used to be nightmarish for me, too. I used to be inconsolable, more often than not. If nightmares stop the moment you wake up, this one begins the moment you open your eyes. So, for a long time, I preferred sleep. For my dreams were better than my reality.
But at the onset of my terrifying illness, I had embraced my Savior and Healer, the Lord Jesus Christ. For a long time, it was hard to understand it all, but I clung to His Word which I made my daily companion and the amazing testimonies of His miracles that I heard from the pulpit. There was no instant, one-time relief, but as I held on to Jesus, He held me. As I immersed myself in His Word and promises, He supplied the grace sufficient for me to survive the day.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
In the nightmarish moments, I thought of my Savior, my Jesus who loved me so much He died for me. I lived in His presence as I walked through the “valley of the shadow of death” again and again. Even in the darkest, hardest times, I believed He was there. I imagined His light like a vertical shaft shining down on me from His throne. I never wanted to disconnect from Him. He was, still is, and always will be my heartbeat, the very breath that I take. (Weeping now).
But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. (Psalm 86:15)
I can’t remember the exact day that the Lord filled me with peace and joy and inspiration to live and serve Him. They didn’t come with my complete healing for I have yet to receive it. I received them even in the midst of illness and suffering. This is that which the apostle Paul wrote – “peace that passes all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). We can’t comprehend how it can be present in the midst of a trial. But it’s there like a solid rock we can lean upon.
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (Ps. 30:11-12 NIV)
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