Devastating Diagnosis with Blessings
In August of 2001, I woke with numbness in my right leg. During the next several months other disturbing sensations and physical issues would occur. After numerous examinations and tests, I was told I have multiple sclerosis. Though MS is a devastating diagnosis, blessings come with it. Learning more about the faithfulness of my Father God, purging of pride in my life, experiencing the gracious ministry of others, and receiving “priceless treasures” are just a few of them.
Living with MS has allowed me to discover how faithful and trustworthy my Father is. He provides financial resources for medical expenses and assembles a medical team that is committed to helping me with the effects of the disease. This year has brought some new physical challenges that caught me off guard, but my Father knew, and I am seeing His handiwork in getting the needed treatment. I do not fret over these challenges because I have His promise (Proverbs 3:6-7) and previous experiences to know I can trust Him to be faithful.
Even though I had walked with the Lord for twenty years, when I was diagnosed with MS, I was full of pride. I thought I had my life together and I certainly did not need any help because I had it all figured out. This mindset came crashing down quickly. During those first six months, I had to ask a total stranger to pump my gas because I did not have the hand strength to do it myself; incontinence became an embarrassing issue when I was in public; and cognitive problems led me to have word association issues, I would say “black” when I meant to say “green” or I would say “go left” when I meant to say “go right.” My family coined the phrase for the wrong words, “right neighborhood, but the wrong street.” Pride is hated by God (Proverbs 8:13) and He has used MS to purge it from my life.
Paul said this when speaking to the Ephesian elders, “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35). This verse is hidden in my soul and I try to live it. However, the full meaning of this verse came to light for me as I began to experience the weakness MS causes from time to time. I may not be able to minister to the needs of others who themselves are weak, however I am still blessed. The blessing comes when I accept the gracious ministry of others towards me and allow them to be “more blessed.” The members of my church pray for me whenever I have a flare-up, when I travel, and for other life situations that can impact my MS. Some have expressed the blessing they receive in praying for me, especially when I share how their prayers were answered.
A priceless treasure was given to me by my dad. I had just spent the Thanksgiving holidays in the hospital, my parents were visiting, and there was still no diagnosis. He had always taught me right from wrong but he never gave me the spiritual truth behind the teaching. For several years leading up to this time, he had been growing stronger in his faith-walk with the Lord. As my dad began to leave he tore a page out of his devotional, handed it to me, and said, “There will be more days like this. When they come, and they will, read this.” It was worth getting MS to receive the priceless treasure of Truth from my dad.
I would not have asked for multiple sclerosis but I am thankful for the blessings that have come with it.