In part 1 of this two-part post I told you the essential story of my Multiple Sclerosis to date or, if you will, the daily “rain” in my life. Now, if I stopped there all I could ever expect would be perpetual, devastating floods that would eventually drown the whole of me into an ocean of hopelessness. But, to the praise of His glory, this is not where things end!
God has created each of us to be more than just simple, physical creatures satisfied by nothing more than the air we breath and the food and water we intake. He has created us in His image and in doing so we reflect, albeit to a much more limited and imperfect degree, His palette of emotions as well as a spirit which will live on once we leave this life. Therefore, all of us have emotions which, when properly trained, can transcend the physical realities of our circumstances. We also have a spirit within us that longs for something, someone greater than ourselves. Our spirits cry out to be restored to fellowship with our Creator; wanting and needing to rise above the physical needs of our bodies. My spirit found the one, true, living God when I was 13 years old and from that moment on faith in God and Christ, His Son, has filled and overflowed my life with joy.
I don’t have complete control over how my MS affects my body nor the vicissitudes from day to day of what it will or will not let me do. However, I do have control over how I allow my emotions and my faith to run my life. Psalms 19:9 says, “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever”. Did you know that “the fear of the Lord” is an Old Testament expression meaning “reverential trust”? Yes, once we realize Who God is and His holiness, we will fear Him because we realize who we are. We are not holy and knowing Him reveals our sinfulness. That is why Proverbs 9:10 tells us that “the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”, it reveals our need. But once we yield to Him and become His by putting on Christ His Son through baptism, our faith is based upon a reverential trust in God to keep His promises. Once we have trusted in who He says He is and the promises He has made, we go the next logical step by submitting to Him. The most beautiful and wonderful example of this submission is by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Of Him it is said, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body You prepared for Me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, “Here I am – it is written about Me in the scroll – I have come to do Your will, O God” (He 10:5-6). Further, the Hebrew writer describes the moment when the time of Christ’s passion came. Hebrews 5:7-9, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One Who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”
Of course Jesus trusted God, He had just been in heaven with Him and had left Him to come here. But look what that trust enabled Jesus to do! He reverently submitted. And so, that is what I will do. I will live each and every day trying my best to reverently trust and submit to God my Father.
Trusting and submitting to God has benefits that far outweigh my physical limitations. He offers the “fruit” or “gift” of His Spirit, which Galatians 5:22-23 lists as, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” The Holy Spirit has been given to us as our “Helper” or “Counselor” (John 14:16) and His “fruit” or “gift” has everything to do with how to manage my emotions when living with this disability. These are how I will stay emotionally strong through whatever MS or life throws my way. I will love the things MS has taught me. I will find joy in the things I can still do. I will find peace in the knowledge that God understands my limitations. I will practice kindness and goodness because others may be experiencing greater problems than I am. I will be thankful for God’s steadfast faithfulness to me and pledge to show mine to Him out of gratitude and because there may be others who would be encouraged by my example. I will let his gentleness toward me influence my thoughts, feelings, and actions toward others. I will allow all the other components of this great Spirit given gift to learn and practice self-control.
God is the sunshine mentioned in the title. The rain of our broken lives mingled with the sunshine (or Sonshine 😉) creates the most beautiful of rainbows. After all, what was a rainbow given as a reminder of in the first place (Genesis 9:16)? A promise!