“Fragile.” That’s what my dad calls me. Mom always says that God put me together with spare parts. A huge component of my challenges this past year has been accepting and working with my unique limitations allowed by my Heavenly Father.
For a while I felt like something about me would always be “broken”; we live in a fallen world so such is to be expected sometimes. I am blessed that none of my problems are advanced enough to be life-threatening. When I think of a friend who went from being “fine” to experiencing paralysis and facing death because of a brain tumor in a matter of hours, my trials are nothing.
The apostle Paul writes of a “thorn in the flesh” which served as a constant reminder of his need for the Lord. I view mine as the same. Do I like it? No. Did I pray for healing and answers? Certainly. Am I content to live my life with the realization there are no cures for the things I face? Today I am.
It still catches me off guard sometimes to hear of a friend who “hasn’t been to the doctor in years” if ever. Like most self-absorbed humans, I often forget that everyone is not just like me. You mean others don’t have a string of doctors and specialists with medical records six inches thick? You have not grown up battling x or y?
The search for answers to my sickness and pain began years ago but in February of 2006 I dropped in on a doctor to learn everything I could do to avoid getting sick on my upcoming trip to the Middle East. I hadn’t been feeling well and the last thing I wanted on this trip of a lifetime was to be in constant pain or unable to eat. The doctor gave me some assistance and left me with a comment unrelated to my reason for the visit. He noticed some physical symptoms that were unusual and encouraged me to see a specialist when I got back.
Four months later the journey began to climb a mountain so steep I could not see the summit. No closer to answers but more desperate than before, I began the gauntlet. I now have five doctors on “my string”and some answers. Back when my search began I only prayed “for answers.” I did not realize one answer is, “We don’t know.” All of a sudden many strange symptoms and concerns made sense but what comfort is that if there is no cure?
I can only imagine how a cancer patient must feel. No cure. Only treatments. A chance to fight back and maybe live a full life. “No cure” held heavier meaning now that it attached itself to me. Now it is a part of my thorn.
My parents are amazing. Together we sought out Christians who practice the truth that the whole person must be treated: body, mind and spirit. We cannot understand the multitude of ways they are connected; we just know that they are. Godly counsel was essential. Weeks of learning from those who excel in their field was needed. Prayer was vital. But my steps were slowing. I was tired.
Thus is the nature of my thorn. Yours may wear a different face but the challenge remains the same: when God says “no” to our request for a good thing, what will we do? How will we respond when the way is blocked which seems best in our eyes? Can we survive the burial of a dream?