A false faith can only float in smooth water, but true faith, like a life-boat, is at home in storms. If we cannot believe God when our circumstances appear to be against us, we do not believe Him at all. We trust a thief as far as we can see him; shall we dare to treat our God in that fashion? – C.H. Spurgeon
Ooh, that quote is challenging! My friend posted it on Facebook a week or so ago, and it matched up perfectly with what I was reflecting on for 2011 and my first One Word experience. When I first got very sick with late stage Lyme Disease, Bartonella, and Babesiosis in early 2008, my instinct was to ask “why me?” Through the two years of my treatment and journey to health as I like to call it, God taught me not to ask “why me?” but to ask “who is He?” instead. In other words, He showed me that I could put my hope in Him through all the hard things that this broken world offers up.
Buuuuut, I’m a slow learner. And when I got sick again with Lyme Disease, after celebrating my return to health by traipsing through the Everglades, I found myself pouting once again and asking, “God, why me?!” He allowed that for all of one day before He told me once again, “I can take care of this. Calm down and trust in me.”
Since then He’s allowed more than enough opportunities for me to put trust into practice. I suppose I asked for it when I chose “TRUST” as my One Word for 2011. I had an angry gallbladder through the first month of the year. Then I got Bartonella once again – this time through cat scratch fever – and my immune system freaked out so badly that my entire body was on fire for 4 months. Then last week I came down with what I thought was a stomach flu, then feared was appendicitis, and turned out to be an inflamed intestine. The whole ordeal landed me in the ER twice when my fever broke but my gut kept getting bigger and bigger and more painful by the day.
The good news is this: through all of these things, God was with me. He protected me. And He kept me from harm.
When my gallbladder was acting up, I was scared. I was home alone for a month, snowed into my apartment after a giant blizzard, and not sure what was going on. When I finally figured out that I was having gallbladder attacks, well meaning people told me I would definitely need to get it taken out and my new family practitioner wasn’t sure what to do. I’m not going to lie – I did a lot of crying out to God on this one. And He provided when a friend recommended a Chinese herbal product that his Naturopath prescribed him (GB6 by Health Concerns, which has to be prescribed by a Dr. or Naturopath and can be ordered through Willner Chemists) and nutritional healing tips on gallbladderattack.com. It took a month, but the ultrasounds showed that my gallbladder didn’t need to come out and I learned a lot about caring for my digestive system in the process.
Then the Bartonella hit. This time I was slow to recognize I was sick, because the last time I had aches and pains I’d jumped to conclusions, taken antibiotics against Dr.’s orders, and caused the gallbladder issue in the first place. So it was only after two weeks of major inflammation through every joint in my body, when my entire gut felt like it was on fire, that I found the big purple circle on my leg around a still healing cat scratch and realized, “Shoot… I have cat scratch fever.” I found myself back in my LLMD’s office and back on antibiotics for the next 3 months. And to be honest with you, it was very scary.
My immune system responded with guns blazing, which put me in a whole lot of pain for a whole lot of months, and my gallbladder rejected several of the antibiotics. Once again, I found myself crying out to God for a whole lot of healing.
I wouldn’t want Bartonella for a third time if my life depended on it. But God used the ugly situation for good, even when it was painful. During those four months, I remembered what it was like to have that much pain throughout my whole body. That was the kind of pain I’d lived with for years. And I was completely blown away by how far God had taken me in the year before that. This time, the pain felt foreign. It was scarier because I knew just how “not normal” it was, which meant I knew what it was like to feel better than that – and that in itself was a huge blessing.
God also used that experience to remind me to lean on Him and to remind me that I couldn’t put my hope in anyone but Him. I was scared of how I was feeling, and anyone who knows me well will tell you that I HATE to be alone when I don’t feel well. I like to think that God wired me this way. He put me in the womb with someone else, and He knows that even during my “alone” times I like to know there’s someone in the room next door. But this time the fiance was swamped with PhD-ish things and my roommate was never home. So I found myself frequently alone and learning to go to sleep knowing Jesus was by my side.
And when I found myself in the middle of nowhere on a roadtrip from New York to Ohio with a sudden flare up, Jesus was there. And when I was in so much pain that I thought I could never get on a plane to Napa Valley, Jesus walked me onto that plane and into one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. And somewhere along the way He inspired doses of hope when He reminded me of all He’s done in my life, how far He’s taken me, and the promises He still has in store.
I learned that when I picked One Word for 2011 and committed it to God, He responded. It wasn’t always easy but boy did He show me just how much I could trust Him. Right down to the last week of the year, when He kept me from appendicitis and once again walked me onto a plane while I was still feeling less than my best (one of my least favorite places to be) and delivered me safely to the other side.
God still has a lot to teach me about trust, and I’m positive this year will be another big year of growth if I’ll let it. It’s tempting to pick trust as my One Word again, but I already know that God has another word in mind for me this year (coming soon!).
p.s. A big thank you to my friend Josh for posting the C.H. Spurgeon quote on Facebook!
p.p.s. Here’s the new One Word site for 2012!