The year before I was healed I felt God nudging my heart toward a step of faith – leaving my job. This was a big deal for me, because I’d built my life around my career. For years I dreamed of working in the music industry, and after lots of hard work and a cross country move to New York City that dream came true. Before long, I was working for a music marketing and publicity firm, promoting popular artists and loving every minute of it. I even earned a gold record plaque with my name on it for one of the marketing campaigns I did in my first year on the job. Everything was going according to plan.
But along the way I felt like God was telling me He had something different in store, and after lots of wrestling with it and a whole lot of internal change as I came to know Jesus more and more over the years, I finally agreed to leave this life I’d built for myself and follow Him.
In fact, by the time I said yes to Jesus and told Him I was willing to leave my job, I was excited. I knew He was going to heal me. I believed in His good plans. And I wanted very much to go and share His hope and healing with others. I was ready to give up everything I’d “worked” so hard for to do it. So in late 2009 I committed to leaving my job within the next year, and I started making moves to make it happen.
Just a few months later I was pronounced in remission. I was amazed at God’s perfect timing and felt like this was clear confirmation that I’d taken the right step of faith in saying yes to this big change. And I still believe that to this day. But what I didn’t expect was what happened next… another big blow from another round of illness.
To make a long story short, here’s what happened. Life was good after remission. I lived every day in amazement that God could make me feel so healthy, and I felt like I was on top of the world. To celebrate, Steph and I decided to visit a friend in South Florida. We hadn’t traveled for a vacation in years, so this seemed like the perfect way to usher in a new phase of health and expectation. It was going to be awesome. And the trip really was. But somewhere along the way, we got the hair-brained idea of visiting Everglades National Park. In the height of summer. Which is in the height of bug season. Just six months after I was healed from a crazy insect-born illness.
We covered ourselves in bug spray and set out to explore, taking pictures of alligators along the way. We were having so much fun that we forgot to reapply the bug spray four hours in, which is exactly when a giant deerfly struck, and exactly when I got Lyme Disease again. By the time I made it back to New York, feverish, not able to eat, and so out of it I could barely walk down my apartment hallway, I knew something was up. I made an appointment with my specialist, went through the familiar round of tests, and found myself back on the medication I was certain I’d never have to take again. But that’s not the point of the story.
The point is, I was mad. I was discouraged. I was totally confused, and I felt 100% sorry for myself. God had healed me! He’d asked me to leave my job! I’d said yes! And now I was sick again? Just at the time I was set to lose my health insurance and all the cushy benefits that my marketing job afforded me?
I sulked for days, until one evening as I was washing dishes God asked me (lovingly of course), “Are you really going to feel sorry for yourself? Or will you trust me? I didn’t give you Lyme Disease again, but I can get you through it just like I did the first time.”
That was a first for me. The idea that what God could do once, He could do again. It was like a giant light bulb went off. So much of my relationship with Jesus had been formed while walking through illness and into health. I knew Him as the God who was healing me, and I trusted that He was doing it. What I didn’t expect for some reason, was that the hits might keep coming. Even after He healed me.
Suddenly I understood that life was not going to be perfect. That just because I’d been healed once it didn’t mean I wouldn’t ever get sick again. But it did mean that I could trust that God who walked me through it before to keep walking me through it. And I could trust that nothing was going to get in the way of His plans.
As it turned out, God knew exactly what He was doing. I was healed again from this second round of Lyme Disease before I quit my job and set out to discover what God had in store. I’m still discovering it every day – the God-sized dream He gave me and asked me to leave my job for – and I’ve gone through at least one round of systemic illness a year since then as my immune system continues to heal and my body continues to strengthen. God has gotten me through all of them. And not just that, He’s put a new song in my heart and given me a total love affair with hope.
These days when I see friends who are suffering from hit after hit, I mourn with them. But I also cry out to our God who never leaves us even when it seems like the hits just keep coming. It’s frustrating when we don’t have answers for why bad things happen. But through it all I’m reminded that He is always by our side, and nothing can separate us from His love.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
Have you ever been through a situation like this or a period of life when it felt like the hits just kept coming? Did anything happen where you felt God’s love with you even as you waited?
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Original photo of “Boxing Girl” by artemisphoto on freedigitalphotos.net. Text and embellishments added by us.