Yesterday I mentioned a sermon I preached last Sunday at church about how Jesus is our Healer. This week, I am posting some of those thoughts here. I started with why we get sick in the first place. Today I want to share a little of my own context for processing all these thoughts.

This issue of the NEED FOR HEALING is something that I am personally experiencing and walking through with Jesus right now. In retrospect I can see that my physical symptoms began about a year and a half ago, but at the time, it was nothing that I wouldn’t attribute to just normal fatigue or aging. Just over a year ago I started experiencing some symptoms that were rather odd, and since it had been almost five years since I’d seen a doctor, I decided maybe I just ought to get checked out. Those early odd symptoms (I call it being “allergic to cold” … the actual name is Raynaud’s Disease) are something for which I am now very grateful, because they led to a much quicker diagnosis than I think I would have received otherwise. You see, in the process of doing bloodwork, etc. for that issue, a lot of other things I’d been experiencing in mild form got a lot worse.  I could no longer attribute fatigue to lack of sleep, because I was sleeping more than ever. I battled depression. I started getting fevers for no discernible reason. My joints began to hurt at random, with no tie to any injury or over-exertion. I began to stay up later, even though I knew I’d be tired the next day, and after a few weeks of that I was talking to God about it and realized I was afraid to go to bed… because I never knew what I would feel like in the morning, or what might hurt. The tendons in my hands felt like they were burning if I tried to fully extend my fingers, and I literally couldn’t make a fist. In the worst days, my wrists were so tender that picking up anything heavier than my cell phone was just painful, and I chose what to wear based on how much it might or might not hurt to put it on and take it off.

And I didn’t know why. I would pray, “God, you have to hold me together” because some days I felt like my skin was the only thing keeping my hands attached to my arms.

The diagnosis came at the end of September.

Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I decided to go with the medicine my doctor recommended and also look into alternative therapies, such as changes in diet, certain herbs and essential oils, and exercises. So far, I am vastly improved, and now mostly I just deal with a fairly constant achiness instead of debilitating pain. And the cold allergy is still there.

I don’t say all this to elicit sympathy. I do appreciate the prayers and encouragement of those who know a little of what I’ve experienced, but I really don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I have always hated appearing weak, and I don’t want to burden anyone else with my problems.

The truth is, I was struggling with my own fears of what an incurable, chronic autoimmune disorder would do for my own future and my dreams. One of my college roommates and dear friends dealt with juvenile-onset rheumatoid arthritis, and knowing what she went through was quite a shadow on my own hopes for the future. She is an amazing, strong, talented woman and a beautiful soul — really, I do want to be like her! But I wasn’t excited about sharing this particular trait with her.

But in not sharing my struggles I was giving Satan power in a number of ways. 

First, I was isolating myself by not letting anyone see the internal struggle. I was cutting off a powerful source of goodness in my life, which is the power of connection. You see, God’s power thrives in our lives when we connect with God and others. Satan’s power thrives in disconnection. When we are internally disconnected because we don’t internally process or admit to ourselves the emotions we experience. When we are disconnected from others by not sharing what’s really going on. When we are disconnected from God because we don’t know how He fits in this new paradigm.

Second, by allowing the fear to stay inside, I gave it a power in my life that fear NEVER has when it comes into the light. Simply by saying, “I am afraid” – the fear loses at least half of the power it has on my thoughts and emotions. Try it, you will see it is true!

Third, by not sharing my need for healing, I was depriving God of an opportunity for him to get glory in both my healing and in my testimony of how I might walk through this struggle WITH HIM instead of BLAMING HIM.

Fourth, by pretending that everything was fine I was allowing my pride to lead me in living a lie. The truth is, my body is just as weak as anyone else’s. To humble myself and admit my weakness and my need for God gets me back into that stream of God’s power, the place where my honesty and humanity connect me to you as we share in our unique challenges of the human experience. And the place where God’s grace is evident to me, as I allow him to love me and be with me through the difficult times.

I wonder … are there ways that you are isolating yourself in your own challenges? Who might God be calling you to connect with instead? Do you need to take some time to process some emotions you’ve been blocking, so that you can receive some healing in your emotions or spirit? God already knows what is going on in your life… bring it to the light with Him — be honest! Let Him walk through it with you. Find the connections you need — they lead to the peace that you also need. (Ephesians 4:3)

unity peace Eph 4.3