My friend Kirsty is dying
There will be no reprieve, no remission and no cure. The medical profession describe it as Motor Neurone Disease (MND). For two years now, this ogre of a disease has ransacked Kirsty’s body, causing chaos as it plunders and pillages, weakening and wasting all her muscles. I liken it to a home invasion; when all you can do is watch as someone violently strips your home of all its precious belongings. Motor neurone disease is a progressive wasting and weakness of muscles responsible for speech, chewing and swallowing. Kirsty lost the ability to talk, cough, eat and swallow in the early stages of the disease. Her gait is now a lurching stagger and her head too heavy to hold up. Motor neurone disease is fatal. Kirsty can do nothing but watch and wait, fully conscious of what is happening, for her end to come. Even her family of doctors, one a prominent Neurosurgeon, are powerless to offer lifesaving intervention – because there is none to offer.
But I don’t want this article to be about MND. This article is about the soul – mine, yours and especially Kirsty’s. Does MND leave the soul alone. No! Not even the soul has a free ‘get out of jail’ card. MND taunts with power, boasts with its relentless destruction of the body. ‘Where’s your God now,’ it scoffs. But with the help of voice assist technology and some rather hilarious miming, I can tell you, Kirsty’s soul is alive, alight and very much on fire. Much, much more alive than the ravages of the disease. You do not see the illness when you talk with Kirsty. Her love for her God, her unwavering faith and the sureness of God’s love for her, stirs something in you. ‘What’? I hear you say. ‘If this God is so loving why the disease?’ ‘Why doesn’t God just heal her?’. Good questions. Kirsty and I touch on this from time to time, especially on the topic of healing.
As Christians we are taught and told of the miracles of healing the sick and raising the dead. Just pray and believe they said. As a young Christian I believed this implicitly. But as I traversed the highs and lows of my faith, I began questioning. The multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, the blind to see, the lame to walk, bringing the dead to life, did they really happen and, if they did, is there any real, fail safe evidence that physical healing is happening now? Will God answer my prayer and heal Kirsty? And if God doesn’t heal Kirsty, what does this say about God? What does it say about me? What does it say about Kirsty? There had to be something we’re missing I mused. The first part of the answer came from Kirsty herself. I have reprinted it here.
Heaven or Healing?
It wasn’t so long ago that I had strong opinions about healing. I held a gritty assumption that healing was the rightful expectation of the believer. With sufficient faith and power-packed Scriptures, Satan would be disarmed, and God would triumph.
And then I got MND. I was the one needing healing.
As I faced this giant, I found that my thinking had changed. My growing understanding of God and deepening relationship with him had altered my perspective on the matter of healing. Also relevant was watching some mighty believers struck down by ‘untimely’ deaths.
Maybe there was no formula after all … and no guarantee. Maybe insufficient faith was not the culprit when healing did not happen? An element of divine mystery seemed so apparent.
From diagnosis I experienced a strong faith inside me. It was not faith explicitly for my healing, though there has never been an iota of doubt that my God heals. It was a faith that my Beloved held me securely in his hands and he was ordering the path before me. He called me to trust him with the unknown, with the fearsome.
As the months have gone by with MND’s unrelenting assault on my body, that faith has never wavered. His pleasure over me is real, his presence wrapped around me is strong and sweet.
Jesus the Immanuel … God with us … God with me. I gave him permission to have his way with my life, no matter what that looked like. I loved him so much that I just wanted him to be glorified – whether by healing me and letting me testify, or by taking me home. My real home. I trust in his wisdom and kindness.
So that is where is I am positioned this day. Almost overwhelmed by the ravages of MND but peacefully held. I would have it no other way. Hallelujah!
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalm 73:26 NLT.
What an inspiring piece. This issue of physical healing is still a mystery to Kirsty. She, me and we, do not have the answers to physical healing. But even though she is, as she says, ‘… almost overwhelmed by the ravages of MND’, Kirsty’s faith in God’s love for her, never wavers. And although I want, pray, cajole, and demand, Kirsty be physically healed, God has been silent on the issue. But God is bigger than our demands, expectations and perceptions – that’s the lesson I get from Kirsty’s writing. She never stops seeking and searching to know her God better. I love this about her.
In an earlier blog, I asked the question, ‘What if everything you perceive God to be is a lie?’. It’s a thought-provoking question: It nudges, irks and challenges our ego. This is what it means to search and seek. It’s a question that excludes no-one – a God question that includes the atheist to the most ‘devout’. A question daring us to let go of our perceptions of God. A question worth going back to time and time again because of the potential to discover new and greater possibilities of God’s love for us, every time we ask. This is the essence of Kirsty’s writing.
Whenever I visit Kirsty, I always hope I may be of some comfort to her as she faces the day to day grind of MND. But exactly the opposite happens. I always leave with this weird feeling that Kirsty has comforted me. That my soul has been gently guided back onto the right track, as if I had been lost, and didn’t realise. In our last conversation she was a bit down, “I just feel sitting here all day, I’m not contributing to anything,” she said. Well, I want my friend to know there is no bigger job than the work of contributing to the soul. Kirsty, you do that in bucket loads!
If you would like to follow Kirsty’s as she writes about her journey with God and MND you can search for her on Facebook – Prayers for Kirsty.