‘If you are really a Christian’, she said, ‘you shouldn’t struggle with/ have sickness…’
This statement was made to me by a ‘Christian’ colleague a few years ago…
Let me backtrack a little, I am the 2nd of 4 children, one of the many children in the world consummated by two ignorant’ lovers. I was born with sickle cell anemia.
For a long time my colleague’s statement had me asking ‘what am I doing wrong as a Christian?’… ‘why hasn’t God healed me of this disease?’ after all his word says in Is.53:5:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
Was my colleague right? Am I suffering because of my mum’s sins or maybe my sins? Or is it a faith issue? Why can’t I ‘testify’, why won’t He take this sickness away from me?” For many years my number 1 prayer point was ‘God please cure me of sickle cell, change my genotype from SS to AA or even AS. After all ‘the fervent prayer of the righteous should avail much.’ In my most painful episodes these had been my wails. This here had been one valley of the shadow of death that I have been walking through for way too long, or so I thought until 2007 when I had one of my crisis that almost took my life. I was scared. Doctors were working against time to try to save my life. I cried to God ‘God I don’t want to die, not from sickle cell anemia’…and for the first time I heard Him clearly “you will not die but live to declare my works in the land of the living.”. I survived but pondered on that promise…wondered about the contradiction, I still had sickle cell…what’s the testimony?
10 years on, I see some parallels with the story of Job. Having one ailment is absolutely nothing compared to what Job went through. Job was blameless; God was proud of Him but allowed the devil to take everything but His soul from Him. Yet in grand style only attributable to God, he gained all He lost!
Takeout 1: You passing through the valley is not a consequence of sin, irrespective of what the devil tells you. I would rather say it is precedence to stronger faith and a much closer relationship with God.
Takeout 2: In the valley, the devil does everything to make you lose sight of the most important thing you need while there “God’s presence with you”.
Takeout 3: God’s way of getting you through the valley may not be the way you expect. Job probably prayed for everything to stop. But they didn’t until he lost it all. For me I expected I change in genotype but God’s plans were way bigger. You just have to trust God!
For me, my testimony is well spelt out in 2.Cor 6-9:
“Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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.”
Every experience since God spoke to me has been a testimony. Everything doctors have said is impossible because of my sickle cell, God has in his infinite mercies and awesomeness defied and proved wrong.
I got pregnant with my first child, was told it will be rough, morning sickness would make crisis more frequent, I may lose a lot of blood at birth, I will likely have a low weight baby etc. I did not for once have morning sickness, I did not lose a drop of blood during my first CS, my baby was born healthy.
My 2nd pregnancy was deemed ‘high risk’, 2nd CS will definitely cause some blood loss, low weight baby etc. None of the doctor’s predictions came to pass. My boy was born at 3.45kg at 37weeks; I did not lose any blood during the CS. My blood level dropped days after, the night before I was supposed to be transfused, it rose to normal without any medical intervention. Every experience that having sickle cell should have made much more difficult, God has made easy. Sometimes I feel like He is catching trips with doctors, I imagine he is laughing and saying “I will use seemingly foolish things to confound the wise”.
My testimony as He promised has been ‘His grace being sufficient for me.’ Now I get it and I do not fear anymore in my unique valley (lol).
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to trust that you have got me and are with me, despite my valleys. Give me the grace Lord to relinquish all control to you and allow you to shape me into the person you want me to be. Amen.
Written by anonymous.