As teenagers we often feel invincible. Our bodies are surging with new-found strength and beauty, we feel older and like adults, but our minds haven’t had time to catch up yet. I was no different. At the age of fifteen I had my whole life ahead of me! I got carried away dreaming about all the wonderful things I was going to do in life.
I didn’t often think about after life. About the fact that my life is not eternal, my days will not stretch on forever. The day will come when my eyes will close for the last time. My spirit will leave my body and I will go to my eternal destination, which I know to be Heaven because I have trusted in the sacrifice Christ made on the cross to pay the debt I owed for my sins. And then, what of my earthly life will matter? All those years spent following my own pursuits. What will it count for?
One day when I was fifteen I woke up to face excruciating pain all over my body. I may not have been dead, but I felt like I was dying. And indeed, I was! Slowly, over the next five years the bacteria I had contracted continued to ravage my body. At times I was constrained to my bed for weeks, other times I felt almost normal; but never did I recover. At first I struggled with anger and depression. I was facing the fact that none of the dreams I had would be realized, (they couldn’t be accomplished from a sickbed). After determining to have a useful life in which I would change the world, I suddenly found myself useless. With each new symptom that came, my depression grew worse. “What’s the point of all this?” Ultimately, I was angry with God. Angry that He should cancel my plans for my life. Angry that the fun-filled life I was having had been replaced by the most boring, aggravating, frustrating, life I could ever have hated. But as the weeks stretched to months and then years; God worked on my heart. He worked in each symptom, each sleepless night, each hopeless feeling, and ultimately changed my heart.
Here’s what I learned:
I learned that God is leading me every day, through the good days and the bad. He has an ultimate plan for my life. And while I may not understand it, and I may not always see where we are going, I can trust that He is working in me and through me.
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (NIV)
Psalm 25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou are the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
Psalm 31:3 For thou are my rock and my fortress, therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.
As I submitted myself to God’s will for my life and ‘allowed’ Him to lead me, it became more and more of a comfort to know that someone was in control and there was meaning in this seeming chaos. In my moments of confusion, in my moments of feeling overwhelmed, I would cry to the Lord, knowing He was in control.
Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 145:18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
Now that I am recovered from Lyme Disease, I can look back on my time with Lyme and I can see how God has used suffering to shape me into who I am today. I am wiser, more patient and kind. I have a deep empathy for the suffering of others. I appreciate my life and see beauty in the simplest things. I would not be who I am today were it not for those experiences.
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
Philippians 2:13 It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (NIV)
Psalm 16:7 I will praise the Lord who counsels me, even at night my heart instructs me. (NIV)
Proverbs 2:6-9 For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.” (NLT)
May you find comfort in knowing that God is in control, and He is making the plans for your life.
Have a blessed day,