It started like most days when I work at home . . . coffee, comfy sweats, quiet music, definitely no make-up. My son Austin was home from college for a visit.
He was showing me some stuff I needed to do to be healthy—an almost impossible task—and we laughed, I listened, and I promised to give his suggestions an honest shot.
He went to grab some breakfast; I headed to my office.
That is the last thing I remember.
I came to on the floor, choking with dry heaves, trying to breathe. I looked up and saw four men coming toward me as the waves of nausea continued. I could hear them talking but was too dazed and disoriented to understand. They reached down and started asking me questions:
Can you tell us your birthday? (I couldn’t.)
What day is it? (Not a clue.)
Who is president? (Really? Um, no idea.)
Do you know what happened? (Not so much.)
I’d had a seizure.
While in the fog of trying to achieve one cohesive thought, I was strapped onto a gurney, rolled into the ambulance, and rushed to the hospital with sirens blaring.
Suddenly, my left arm was punctured by what felt like a knitting needle. It was actually an IV the size of a garden hose . . . well, almost.
How on earth is someone supposed to focus when a garden hose has just been shoved into their arm? I tried to focus anyway, to no avail . . . with or without a garden hose.
Empathy and Sympathy
My son Jonathan has a seizure disorder. As his mom and caregiver, I’ve tried and failed a million times to put myself in his shoes. He suffers from . . .
- Sensory problems
- Other physical challenges
Jonathan lives with pain most of the time. After my seizure, for the very first time I knew exactly what one of his painful experiences is like.
I began to weep.
Austin came to the hospital to see me. He was heading back to school—our goodbye was different this time. He told me what had happened:
- That he had heard a weird noise from my office.
- That he found me on the floor, eyes wide open, staring straight through him.
- That he had held my head, watched every muscle tighten and jerk, sweat wetting my shirt, saliva coming out of my mouth, then my eyes finally rolling back as if I had died.
We both cried as he sat on the edge of my bed, holding my hand.
Mom, um (pause, looking down). Mom, I . . . I thought . . . (breathe) . . . I thought you were dying, mom. I . . . I (long, quiet pause). I couldn’t (sigh) . . . I couldn’t . . . I couldn’t save you, mom. I’m so . . . I’m so sorry.
The Truth of It
Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:10).
The truth is, we cannot save one another from death or from the pain in this life that God allows.
There are 40 variations of epilepsy comprised of more than 20 types of seizures. And (get ready), it’s estimated that 1 in 26 Americans will be diagnosed with a seizure disorder (more than one seizure) in a lifetime.
You may or may not ever have this experience. However, there are two inescapable experiences 100 percent of us will face.
We All Will Face Pain
Pain. We cannot control the suffering that God allows in our life or another’s. Learning to be at peace with this truth is essential. I spent years fighting this truth.
Years. It’s awful to endure . . .
- Unjust conviction
And, it’s no better when our loved ones endure such things. However, we must accept what God allows; not because He is mean or unjust but because HE is God and we are not.
Psalm 131:1–2 says,
LORD, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great
or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
God does not answer to you, and certainly He does not answer to me! How incredibly prideful it is to demand that God give us a reason for allowing what we don’t like. Instead we can be like a weaned child, near to our Father and self-controlled enough to sit calmly in His presence.
Maybe it’s time to accept life in all its discomforts because we can trust that God is with us, even through the pain, and that He has planned better days for those who trust Him.
We All Will Face Death
Death. Every living thing will die . . . guaranteed. For those who accept the human condition as it is—fallen and sinful—and believe Christ is our only Savior, and by grace accept His gift of salvation, death is our passageway to eternal life.
In heaven, there will be no disabling conditions, no violence, no traumatic injuries, no pain or shame or guilt. We will be free and whole.
Since death is inevitable, let’s make each day, each moment, be a demonstration of our dependence on and our trust in the Lord. We do not control our circumstances, but we can control our choices through the power of the Spirit.
Let Me Hear from You
Please, will you allow my experience to speak to you, into your soul, and evaluate what you are choosing today?
Maybe you or a loved one suffers from chronic pain or a disabling condition. Perhaps you have demanded an explanation from God—would that really help? Do you need an explanation in order to trust Him?
Now it’s your turn. What would change if you chose to truly accept that God is in control and cares about what you are experiencing this very moment?
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