Experiencing God’s grace and intimacy
Recently I was in Singapore undergoing six months of chemotherapy treatment. I was diagnosed with Autoimmune disease, connective tissue diseases, interstitial lung disease and Reynaud’s Phenomenon. What is Autoimmune Disease? There are hundreds of different kinds of autoimmune disease but in a nutshell it is very similar to cancer where the bad cells would attack the good cells. For Autoimmune it would be when my good cells could not differentiate between the good and the bad cells and had basically started attacking each other. This resulted in the loss of both the lower lobe of my left and right lungs hence the reason why I am always breathless and sometimes it is hard to sing. The disease also attacked all my joints resulting in the loss of use of both my hands and my legs and I stopped walking. To top it off, I also have Reynaud’s Phenomenon. I love how doctor’s or researchers who discovered it named this diseases: Phenomenon – meaning unexplainable! When I get cold and my body’s reaction is to constrict the blood flow to my body parts I turn blue like the walking dead. Prolonged blueness leads to my cells dying. The immediate treatment was chemotherapy to stop the further attack on my body.
When I was diagnosed, I was pretty calm. I knew God had a plan. In the mean time I had to suck it up and roll with the punches. I spent enough time in the hospital to know that there were so many people worse off then me.
Autoimmune is a chronic lifelong disease that you have to manage. It has it peaks and its troughs. The things that people don’t tell you when you go through treatment is that chemotherapy is one of the loneliest times of your life. Sure you are surrounded by friends and family. But not many people I know have gone through chemo and it is hard to talk to people who haven’t gone through it before or experienced it secondhand.
When people ask me how am I going I don’t know if they really want to know the truth. The drugs make me feel so sick I just want to puke my guts out. The ulcers that have mysteriously appeared overnight down my esophagus pipe means I can’t swallow. Sometimes I feel like I am losing my mind and I can’t seem to remember things. When I have a shower handfuls of my hair start falling out. The truth is sometimes it is easier to not say anything and go into this alone.
At the beginning of this process I kind of let the Devil steal my voice. I hardly prayed, I didn’t sing songs to God even though there were so many times when God said “praise Me”. I didn’t talk to him, I didn’t do anything. I just LET IT BE. Yes I was undergoing chemo and quarantined and I couldn’t go to church but it was more than that.
In this period there was silence – my silence not God’s. I heard God prod me, “Ask from me anything….” and I was thinking man this is my chance. I know the bible. Was I going to be like Solomon and ask for wisdom? No I didn’t. Or would I be practical and ask for healing? No I didn’t. Instead in that moment I prayed, “I need to be in awe of You again, to know that You are God…” And in that moment I felt such certainty that He answered…
I know that God is all-powerful and can heal all diseases yet sometimes it is hard to understand why healing hasn’t come yet. I got thinking… what if healing is a process and what if it is a long road and involves more sleepless nights, more faith than I thought myself capable of. Just because I do not understand God’s plans does not mean he is not good and faithful with a good and perfect plan. Am I going to judge God based on my circumstances that I don’t understand or am I going to choose to judge my circumstances based on what I know about God.
I don’t have all the answers in this journey which I am still going through but He has redefined what I know about my God and His blessing… the blessing in the absence of what I am praying for. I have learnt that there is a blessedness that comes through waiting on the Lord. There is now an intimacy in my walk with the Lord that comes with walking through my valleys – with Him. END
Alison sang this song at the end of her sharing:
Alison worships in Zion Praise Harvest Church in Perth where she shared her testimony recently. She works as the State Initiatives Manager in ANZ Bank. She is grateful to her employers for their kind understanding in giving her time off to continue her treatment.