This afternoon Doug Bare shared an update during our monthly Seasoned Saints luncheon. Because of it's significance, I wanted you to be able to hear of God's work in Doug's own words. I pray they are an encouragement to you as you fight for faith in whatever areas of trial you face:
It is hard to believe it has been a year and a half since my diagnosis of ALS. Since that time I have gone through a flood of emotions – is this really happening – worry – grief – sorrow – you name it, I have probably been through it. However, the thing it has done is drawn me closer to the Lord and caused me to trust Him more.
For those of you who have not heard, ALS or as it is known in the United States, Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a disease that eats away at the nerves surrounding your muscles, eventually causing the muscle to die – they call it wasting. ALS usually starts in one or more of your extremities, it eventually could affect your ability to walk, swallow, talk, and finally breathe. There is no known cure for ALS. The normal progression of this disease is 3-5 years although some people live much longer – some less.
I visit the ALS clinic at VCU every three months. My last visit was a couple of weeks ago and went about as well as I could have hoped for. So far the disease seems to be confined to my right hand and right arm. I lost another point on their scale due to lessening strength in my right hand. Writing is now pretty sloppy! I am learning to do just about everything with my left hand. I seem to tire a little quicker than I used to, but then again, I am 72 years old. It has been almost two years since my first noticeable symptoms, but overall, I am feeling pretty good.
So let me share what I feel God is teaching me. When I first got my diagnosis, our small group was the strength for Karen and me. They rallied around us, supported us in any way they could, but most of all they covered us in prayer and I know there are many more in the church that are doing that as well as family and friends. Of course we prayed for complete healing, but we also prayed for a slow moving disease. I believe God has heard those prayers.
I truly believe that God has held this disease off until I was later in life. Most ALS patients are diagnosed much earlier in their lives. I recently noticed an obituary in the Richmond paper of a girl, 47 years old who died from ALS. So I feel God has delayed my disease.
We take so much for granted these days. I have learned to be thankful for little things. I know that Paul was thankful for the thorn in his side, but I am not where Paul is – I am not thankful for ALS. However, scripture says in all things be thankful – it does not say for all things be thankful. So even though I am not thankful for ALS, I can still be thankful for other things. The other day I was mowing my lawn and although I have had to swap the mower controls over to my left hand, I was still able to mow my lawn and I just thanked God that He still allowed me to do that.
Finally, I think God is trying to tell us all something. We prayed for a slow moving disease and God has granted that, but I think God is telling us “Yes, I granted you a slow moving disease, but I can do so much more. I think God wants us to be a more praying body. We need to be praying daily for our church, for our nation and that God would move in the world.
I think there are folks in many churches, perhaps ours included, that know a lot about Jesus. They know of his miracles, they know he was crucified and rose from the dead – they know a lot about Jesus – they are real fans of Him. But let’s leave the fans for football teams. We need more than knowing about Jesus, we need to truly know Jesus – we need to be true followers of Jesus, not just fans. I think God wants us to rededicate our lives and spend more time in prayer and service. He can do so much more than slow down ALS, He can change our lives AND the world. It starts with each one of us.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says - If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Do that for us, Lord! Thank you for your prayers, God bless you and to God be the glory.
Posted by Gene Emerson
Posted on Sun, October 13, 2013
by Gene Emerson filed under