Sometimes answers are delivered to us in a manner that we would not have chosen for ourselves. Given a choice, most of us would prefer to walk a path in life that is well lit and lined with roses, forgetting that someone has to pay the light bill and that roses are attached to thorns. Truth be told, an “easy” path through life wouldn’t be good for anyone. It wasn’t for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and it wouldn’t be for us today. The blessing, though, is that in the painful dark times of life, it’s easier to see the light of Jesus in His Presence.
In 1997 I had to face the fact I was on one of those paths that I would not have chosen, for it was then that I was given a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Though I’d had a few minor symptoms for several years before then, I hadn’t been to the specialist for a variety of personal and family reasons. Those few years were a pinnacle of opportunities (a bed of roses, so it seemed) that were so abundant in opportunities for our entire family that, to me, they far outweighed the nuisance factor of those early symptoms. So when I did receive the diagnosis, and receive it I did, I did so with a “relief” that it was what I had been expecting to hear and that it wasn’t anything “worse.”
While the diagnosis of an incurable disease was an outright frontal attack against my body, the real war, as I would later come to learn, would be fought mostly in my mind. Initially, I responded to the diagnosis with a tolerance that was far more deceptively dangerous than was the diagnosis itself, for it gave no allowance for God. I did not yet know that we serve a God who is a Deliverer. Instead, I accepted the fact that “if we live long enough, we’re bound to get something.” It wasn’t a noble attitude but one that was debilitating in its hopelessness.
Sometimes in life we need a nudge to get us moving, and apparently PD was the nudge that I needed to change some things in my life that needed changing. At first the changes I made were in regard to work employment, which then led me to take early retirement, all as a result of having PD.
Then my husband, in turn, took the early retirement that he had been planning, and we sold our home and moved to a neighboring state, all to see more of our children and grandchildren. But there in our new neighborhood is where the changes themselves changed. No longer was I interested in changing jobs and locations, but instead was glad to stay put.
But neither our coming and going, nor our staying stopped the PD from advancing. That is when the biggest change of all occurred, for it was I who began to be changed by my increasing knowledge of the Truth of God’s grace to us in Jesus. Specifically, the noticeable change in me began when I consciously made room in my mind for a very big God to reign.