Friday, May 29, 2009

The Terminator



I was asked one time, “How can you believe in God, when He allowed you to have PD?  Isn’t God supposed to be loving and kind?”


First, I don’t blame my having Parkinson’s disease on God, nor has my health status ever had any impact on my belief in God; other than in a positive sense. 


Second, God is loving and kind; among a host of other indescribable attributes.


So how do I maintain my faith and my belief in a Holy God?


The only thing that I have ever been totally convinced of, in an ever changing and unpredictable world, is that God exists and that He loves me.  The fact that I have PD doesn’t change that.  God did not afflict me with PD.  Many people think that God afflicts people with sickness and disease.  I do not believe that, nor do I find in His word support of that. 


It is my belief that sickness and disease comes upon people due to the fact that we live in a world characterized by sin.  In Genesis we read that the serpent was present here on earth from the beginning.  He was already at work tempting man to sin and turn away from God.  (See Genesis 3: 1-7)  And Adam and Evil obliged, and fell into sin.


God made His creation, you and me, with the ability to choose what we believe, and He granted us free will.  When, by our actions, we make poor choices; such as Adam and Eve made, God, because He is a jealous, yet just and loving God, allowed pain into the picture of human life.  In much the same way that those of us who are loving parents will allow our children to fail or experience hurt so that in the long run they have enough experience to make good choices.  If there were no pain and suffering we would have no need of God. 


A vast amount of our pain and suffering is self-inflicted.  Over the years of my life, I cannot begin to count the times that I have thought that I knew more about or did not want to listen to another’s advice on many issues, topics, or actions.  Subsequently, many times I would not listen to any advice.  Needless to say my way of doing life cost me great pain; pain that in many instances could have been avoided.


I am not at all suggesting that Parkinson’s disease or most any other disease is something that is caused or even contributed to by the action or lack thereof the patient.  What I am stating is that I know that you and I live in a world where there is evil, pain and suffering all around.  Just one quick look at the world and you can see it.  Often you can hear it, many can feel it, and occasionally we can even taste it.  The pain, hurt, harshness, ugliness, violence, sexism, racism, pride, jealousy, envy, lust, and other hurtful issues do not come from God.  “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”  (John 1:5 NIV) 


On this side of eternity with my Savior there will be pain and suffering.  Many saints who have done so much to further the cause of Christ will be struck with disease, involved in automobile accidents, be victimized in some brutal way; and many will die, an early or untimely death, at least to our human way of thinking.  And, unfortunately, yes, even sometimes babies or children suffer and die.


For any parent grieving the loss of a child, I can only empathize with how difficult it must be, and from experience I know that often parents want to ask God, “Why?” 


I don’t have an answer to all, or even any situation other than my own.  For me having Parkinson’s disease is all about learning to surrender.  I believe that God is calling me to do many things with Him.  (Not for Him, as He is very capable of doing anything and everything on His own.  ~ a topic for some other time)  When one has a health condition which impedes ones daily functionality and almost daily something else causes pain or another ability becomes consumed by the disease, it is almost as shocking as being diagnosed all over again.  Patients like me know that we are living with a disease, yet I don’t think that anyone is ever fully prepared for the changes that come with a progressive and incurable disease.


When I have those rough days, what I call “park days;” it can be quite easy for me to want to blame someone.  Or slip into a “woe is me attitude.” I must remind myself that I have two options; live a miserable existence moaning about my misfortune, and make all those around me miserable in the process; or I can choose to rejoice!  I have made it my personal goal to try to go through my life with strength and dignity and rejoice always in my Lord.  (Hence, why I have this blog.)  Plus, for me I truly see PD as a blessing and a gift in my life.


Some of you may think that my husband should call the men with one of those little white jackets that lace up the back when I issue such a statement; but hear me out. 


Prior to PD it was much easier for me to become prideful and think that I  had done a good job when sending a note of encouragement to someone that  was hurting.  Now, I know that it is the voice of the Holy Spirit who calls the need to my mind.  Prior to PD, I would more often than not, when involved in a disagreement with my husband, puff up my chest and say, “Well, I’m right.  I’m not going to apologize!”  Now, the Holy Spirit quietly whispers to me, “Apologize!  It doesn’t matter who is a fault.  You are commanded to love, and love is a choice, not an emotion.”  Prior to PD, I would desire to serve God, but sadly, often I wanted to serve in an area where I could shine.  Now, I not only don’t need to shine, I don’t want to shine; BUT I am very concerned with knowing if my actions, words and deeds allow God to shine through me.


This disease has brought many things into my life.  Many are, to minimize things considerably, not fun.  However, my relationship with the Lord has grown, and the peace, joy and contentment that I feel inside through my personal relationship and total dependence upon God is more than worth the price.


So, no matter what PD takes away from me in the weeks, months and years to come, I know that the hand of my loving Heavenly Savior will bless me more abundantly than I can even hope for or imagine. 


I say, give me your best shot PD!  I got the terminator of all suffering, pain and evil on my side and you cannot win!!!