this looks like more than I can do on my own

I ‘suffer’ [some days more than others] with “idiopathic polyneuropathy’—doctor-speak for “your nerves are damaged, and we have no clue as to why.” This has been ongoing for three years. Something like 80-90% of the pain sensors in my skin are non-functional; some lower percentage of the ‘touch’ sensors; and this arithmetic applies in some fashion to the sensors in my muscles and soft tissues; and to the nerves in my gut.

Much of each day is spent in trying to keep the neurological discomfort in my feet and legs [most of which experience no external sensation] from driving me crazy. I take large doses of anti-seizure meds to keep the discomfort from the nerve damage from annoying me too much. I’m on anti-depressants to keep me in some more-positive frame of mind. I dress for winter inside our house because my internal thermostat doesn’t work properly. Most of the taste buds in my tongue are non-functional [I didn’t know that we have taste buds in the walls of our mouth]. Food tastes mostly like ‘food.’ As a consequence, I now eat lots of vegetables, very few carbs, and no sugar. I used to be hypertensive; that stopped with the onset of increased neuropathy a year ago. My bloodwork is now ideal.

The fibromyalgia/rheumatism which has been incredibly painful for the last 30 years has largely stopped—the sensors quit working. I’m on my third week without aspirin; at my worst, I was taking 12-16 400mg tablets per day [thankfully, no stomach damage. I always took them with food; I guess the acid in my digestive process is stronger than salicylic acid.] For a time I was addicted to barbiturates [muscle relaxants].

You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up; I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
For the both of us...

[Matthew West]

 

Scripture says that “the nations are as dust.” In the vast scheme of the cosmos, we are like paramecium swimming in a drop of water under a microscope. At the same time, Scripture also states that each one of us “Paramecia” was formed in our mother’s womb; and is called by name; and that our Infinite, Omniscient, Eternal Creator counts every “cilia” on our bodies and knows the falling of every sparrow. How can both sets of information be true? I don’t know, it’s a mystery.

Believers have this tendency to presume that being specifically known by our Creator means that every circumstance of our lives happens not by accident, but by design. I tend to believe this myself. I have a tendency to believe in ‘parking space angels’ and ‘random play music angels.’ I know, although I cannot prove, that one night I laid hands on a shrieking water pump in our car, after I’d turned off the engine, asking my Creator to fix the water pump; because we didn’t have the money to take it to a shop. When I started the car the next morning, the water pump worked as silently as it had before, and continued for the next couple of years until we ‘threw a rod,’ and left the broken van in a lot in Idaho. I’ve experienced physical healing; and a number of events that my scientific brain cannot explain. My ‘sister’ received a liver transplant 20 years ago because thousands of people around the world donated money to her through a set of circumstances that have no logical explanation. I call it a miracle. Twenty years later, the anti-rejection meds she’s been on have caused cancers in her body; which are now cured/in remission, by way of chemotherapy and radiation. The process has aged her by at least 10 years. Is it still a miracle? Probably. But a confusing one.

A significant amount of Scripture is devoted to the story of Job and his ‘comforters’. The book of Job is believed by many to be the oldest book of Scripture, pre-dating Moses and the Exodus. Approximately two-thirds of that book is devoted to Job’s ‘comforters’ telling him that he has sinned against the Eternal and that this is why he was being punished with a broken body and a ruined life. Approximately one-third of the book is devoted to Job defending himself, and demanding that the Eternal provide him with an answer. At the end of the book, the Eternal appears before Job and his comforters and tells him [1] that Job’s comforters are full of...baloney [a  comment for those who believe that all of Scripture is literally factual-The Creator of Scripture believes otherwise]; and [2] that the Eternal is the Creator, and Job isn’t. As all good stories must end, everything Job lost is either returned or replaced. All that we have ever lost will be returned or replaced when we get Home. “It all works out right in the end. If it isn’t working right, it isn’t the end.”

I’m learning that circumstance is circumstance; and that it is foolish to automatically ascribe bad circumstance with behavior. Some behavior has bad consequences, and Scripture really doesn’t promise that the Creator will somehow rescue us from the consequences of stupid behavior. I heard teaching from pulpits and platforms for a lot of years, assuring me that my Creator would protect me from my own stupidity. I’m not sure that this is what was taught; I’m fairly sure it’s what I heard. I created a lot of uncomfortable circumstance in the life of my wife and I because I thought that my Creator would rescue me from my stupid financial decisions.

Well, maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out.

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up; I'm not stong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough

‘Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough

Blessings, Marty

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