" We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many."
II Corinthians 1:8-11
Backwards day! Yes, I usually start with the letter and end with the verse, but a friend sent me this and I thought it was fitting. You see, when I update this blog, I do not want those I love to be uninformed. This stuff is going on, regardless of whether I say anything or not. And yes, there is great pressure, far beyond my ability to endure. There are times when I feel as if I despaired of life itself. But I ever come across as not relying on God, as thinking He is not here, as thinking that He has made a mistake, feel free to give me a virtual slap. (I may react to a real one with a rash ;)).
I have had some friends and relations who have wondered if perhaps I have given up. If I've just accepted MCS as inevitable. Phooey on that. If you think that, go back and read my letters. Even on the really really awful, no-good, very bad days, I hope you can discern my hope and my focus. And know that I do seek healing - believe me, with a background in biology, immunology, and biotechnology, I am able to speak to and understand my doctors. And if one ever said "Just deal with it," I'd be off (and that has happened more than once). I've spent years trying to ignore my body, convinced it was just in my head. But that's no good either - then my physical issues begin to hurt those that I love. Taking care of myself and acknowledging my .... what shall we say.... handicaps? This is a way to care not only for my family, but for God's temple.
That feels a bit like boasting, to say that my body is a temple, but that's what the Bible says.
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought for a price. So glorify God in your body."
I Corinthians 6:19-20
I've been purchased, and I am not my own. I do fight against this condition, but the fight is not my focus. My focus is Christ, and I hope that those reading this blog can focus on Him also. Yes, I have written of terrible things. "But this happened that we might not relay on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." Can you see this in my writing? Can you see that I want to share in order that you may celebrate with me? Christ is risen and He has won. We fight our battles daily here on earth, until the glorious day comes. But we do not fight without hope. Please do not see me as letting this thing kick me around.
My wish for you tonight is that you will see that my hope is set on Him, that he will continue to deliver me. YES I want Him to deliver me from my illness - and I pray earnestly and boldly for healing. BUT I am content in that He has already delivered me from so much anxiety, fear, and anger. And He has gifted me with amazing optimism - I have yet to wake up and see a sick person in the mirror - I just feel too blessed to consider myself ill. Help me with your prayers. And give thanks - He has already answered your prayers for strength, peace, hope, and faith. It troubles me that some believe that I am letting this thing beat me. I feel that I am not clear enough, that I am somehow failing to convey my peace as a gift, received after much striving. I am not a docile patient person. When I say that I am content, please revel in that - this has come after years of toil and battle. God has been hammering me for a long long time. Not that I'm anywhere near finished, but please know - the war has been fought and won by Christ. Give thanks for this gracious favor! Now I will do my duty until called elsewhere.
"I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."
Philippians 4: 10-13