Last night, I was standing in line at a concession stand to buy two waters-one for me and one for my mom. We were at a Mercy Me concert for a mommy/daughter date. As I stood in line, I scrolled through my Facebook feed like every other person, trying to look like I wasn’t bored (the line was extremely long). It wasn’t long before I saw a post about a fellow Cyster (other women with CF are “cysters” and men with CF are our “fibros”) in Lubbock who passed away early yesterday morning from CF complications. I was in shock.
This sweet friend was just a few years older than me. We had never met in person, due to the infectious risk of both of us having cystic fibrosis, but we had talked several times over social media and were able to connect that way (as most of us with CF are forced to).
It never gets easy. It’s never easy losing anyone, whether it’s a family member or a friend. But sometimes it seems it’s even harder losing someone that has the same chronic illness as you. It’s easy to see yourself in that loss. It’s easy to think, “That could be me” and wonder when it will be your turn.
It’s a hard road that no one wants to walk down, and one that no one should.
I’ve had a few people tell me they’re not sure how I do it. How do I still put my faith in a God that allows me to have this illness and suffer from it? That allows friends with the same disease to pass so young, with such full lives ahead of them? It’s a hard thing to swallow sometimes.
That’s why it was so easy for me to fall into depression just a few years ago, because I was tired of dealing with CF.
So how do I put my faith in a God like this? Why did I eventually choose a more optimistic perspective on living with a disease that will most likely take my life one day?
Because I know God created me for a higher purpose. I’m here for a bigger reason than myself-we all are.
John 11:4 says, “When He heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it.'”
I believe fully that with or without CF, I am here to glorify God. I am here to further His kingdom, in whatever way God has planned for me. My desire is to be His faithful servant.
Does it get hard sometimes? Duh. God never said living a Christian’s life would be easy. We know that many Christians have been persecuted, simply for doing God’s work. In fact, I consider cystic fibrosis to be my thorn. In 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about his thorn. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Wow. Such a powerful couple of verses. Paul also tells us that he begged God three times to take away his thorn. But God didn’t. Could He have?
Our God created us. He breathed life into us. If you’ve read the bible, you know God can and will do anything He wants to. He is almighty, powerful, and sovereign. Can He take away our thorns? You bet He can. Does He choose to take away our thorns? Sometimes. But sometimes He doesn’t.
There are many thorns the Lord has graciously removed from my life. Cystic Fibrosis is not one of them. It definitely sucks.
At the Mercy Me concert, the performed a song I had not heard before called, “Even If”.
“It’s easy to sing, when there’s nothing to bring me down. But what will I say, when I’m held to the flame, like I am right now?”
But the most powerful words are in the rest of the song:
“I know You’re able, and I know you can, save through the fire with Your mighty hand. But even if You don’t, my hope is You alone. But God when You choose to leave the mountain unmovable, give me the strength to be able to sing, it is well with my soul. I know the sorrow, I know the hurt, would all go away if You’d just say the word. But even if You don’t, my hope is You alone. You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good all of my days. Jesus, I will cling to You. Come what may, ’cause I know You’re able. I know You can. It is well with my soul.”
Even though I know He can, if God never chooses to take away the burden of cystic fibrosis, I will always choose to serve Him. Sometimes it is scary. It’s hard living a life, knowing that your death could be sooner than you wanted. No one wants a life expectancy of 38. But that’s mine.
The Lord has been gracious and so good to me. I am confident I will live longer than I am expected to, because I’ve already done it once! When I was diagnosed 23 years ago, I was only given 18 years to live. The Lord is so good.
It is well with my soul, because I know who my God is.