Since it first started over two years ago, I have always felt that I’m not very good at this whole “being sick” thing.
My skill set doesn’t seem to match up too well with the difficulties my illness has presented me with. I often wish that there was some sort of class I could take (or being more honest, Youtube video that I could watch) that would teach me the things I need to know to make my life easier and help me to deal with my declining health.
One of the obstacles that I run into a lot is that I now have a constant need to learn to adapt, and I have to balance that with my stubborn resistance to change. What I often fail to see during these situations is that every problem is a new opportunity for God to show me how He provides for me. I rarely see it as it is happening, and sometimes even in hindsight it might take a while to see it, but that doesn’t mean that He’s not there.
He is always there.
I have found myself thinking a lot lately about a time almost two years ago when I started using a cane. I didn’t want to, I can tell you that. I first started having difficulty walking in mid-2012 and it became serious a lot quicker than I thought it might.
When people first started suggesting that I use a cane I didn’t really give it much thought. I had confidence that as soon as I went to a specialist, he would know what was wrong with me and would be able to fix it and things would be back to normal in no time.
Plus, there’s no way I could be seen around town using a cane, it would be too embarrassing. People would make fun of me. The sight of a thirty-one year old man using a cane would attract too much attention and I didn’t want any part of that.
There were a couple of facts that I couldn’t deny though. I had a terrible limp and it wasn’t getting any better. I prayed often for God’s healing and direction, things that I continue to do today.
The weeks rolled by and it became harder and harder for me to get around. At this point, concern from others was coming on an almost daily basis and the topic of the cane kept coming up. Eventually I ended up talking to my employer about it and he echoed the concerns that everyone had about my health and well-being. His exact words escape me, but I still remember the tone of his voice being one of genuine concern and a true desire to help me. We talked about the pros and cons of it for a few minutes until I just felt a peace about the idea that I hadn’t felt before, the kind of peace that can only come from God.
I left work that day knowing 100% that I needed to start using a cane.
I arrived back home and I went to find a roommate of mine that was a bit older than me and used a cane. Who better to know where to get one than someone who already used one?
When I found him I didn’t even have a chance to say a single word before he handed me my first cane (I’ve stopped counting but I’ve got to be on about number 10 by now, they don’t last nearly as long as you’d think). I asked him how he knew, and he replied “Knew what?” No one had told him that I was going to come ask him where to get a cane, no one had any time to as I’d just made up my mind about it less than an hour ago. He just had one waiting for me because he thought it would be useful.
God had given me this sudden peace about using a cane and then provided one for me.
He took care of me and helped me to make a very difficult decision. Adaptation has become an increasingly necessary skill the worse my health gets. A few months after I started using the cane, I started falling. It changed everything. My reliance on God and other people had to increase as a result and it has but not without some major struggles along the way.
I am very grateful for the people who God has put in my life. My employer has supported me every single step of the way, going as far as to completely change what my job is so that I can continue to collect a paycheck. I have been blessed with co-workers that genuinely care for me and do their best to ensure that I can keep working. My family and friends have likewise been extremely supportive and helpful and given me a great example to follow when it comes to faith.
I draw on all of their strength and the never-ending love of Jesus as I face a situation that is extremely similar to what I faced two years ago, only this time it’s with a wheelchair. My concerns are largely the same as they were before.
I’m still a slow learner too, as until recently it seemed as if maybe I’d forgotten what God had taught me when He gave me my first cane. I learned that peace from God is one of the greatest gifts a person can ever receive, and to not squander it but to use it to do whatever God’s will for me might be. Maybe it’s having the courage to use a cane or a wheelchair or perhaps it’s having the courage to tell someone about what Christ has done for me.
As if it wasn’t enough that He rescued me from dying in sin and forgave me for my sins, He continues to care about me in a way I’m only beginning to have the smallest grasp on.
Every one of us has difficult decisions to make and I pray that you would have the peace and love of Christ to guide you though them. James 4:8 says “Come close to God and God will come close to you.” It’s one of my favorite verses in the Bible and also something that I sometimes find myself not doing like I should. It’s funny though how adversity and tough decisions can show us the true character of God and bring us closer to Him.
Take care everyone.