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Old 01-17-2006, 10:40 PM   #1
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Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

okay, so i dont know how many of you are religious. i myself am a Catholic, and i'm trying desperatley to understand why some people in this world have to deal with so much pain and suffering (chronic disease) and others don't.

and how do you guys deal with this on a daily basis? i understand this disease varies greatly, and some feel more fortunate than others, but the fact remains, how do you maintain your faith in God when you seem to be getting screwed at every corner? it's very hard for me to understand, and i hate that my faith is being so challenged by this. it saddens me, and when i look to the future it seems so daunting, and how can u keep going? why has God allowed this to happen to me?

i would be interested in your thoughts, and what you have found through this suffering.

thanks
scott

 
Old 01-18-2006, 03:51 AM   #2
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

Scott, I was raised Lutheran (not far from Catholic) but am now "Bapticostal". Growing up I believed every challenge was some sort of punishment. I now understand that God loves me, unconditionally, and my punishment has already been settled. In everything we go through there is an opportunity for God to get glory. Read the story in John about the man that was born blind.
There is so much I understand now that I wouldn't grasp if I wasn't dealing with this disease. Apparently God wants me to know these things, and He knows I can bear it. I've certainly become more aware that He is with me (and paying attention to me!) every day. I hope you know the same.

 
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Old 01-18-2006, 04:14 AM   #3
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

Scott.....my two cents worth is that we live in a fallen world. When God sent His Son to pay for our sins, He didn't "reverse" the issues that "man" set in motion, but He did institute His plan of forgiveness and salvation.

God's Word tells us to "count it all joy WHEN we suffer trials of many kinds," not "if" we suffer them, because the trials - if we walk them out with our faith intact, give glory to God and encourage the people around us.

You are not being punished.

How do I deal with this hateful disease? Lots of prayer...encouragement from other people...and the firsthand knowledge that God does make all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes), even MS. I have left any healing I might receive in His hands (and yes, I do still pray for that!) and have begun asking Him to use MS through me to encourage others. Trials aside, like Lilc said, there is so much more I understand spiritually now because of the MS than I would have without it.

I hate it.

But at the same time I am thankful for the people and the opportunities it has brought into my life.

Hang in there. Don't give up on God. He certainly isn't giving up on you.

 
Old 01-18-2006, 06:21 AM   #4
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

Scott,
I don't blame God for my disease,I don't blame anyone.My prayers have gotten me through some pretty rough times.I'm thankful that God has given me the knowledge to put together the team of Drs. I have now.I have met some wonderful people ,that if I wouldn't have MS I wouldn't of ever met.I don't look at MS as a disease,it's a different way of living and living with limitations.My faith is stronger now than before.God works in mysterious ways and he makes no mistakes.Scott my ma always said you never ask God why and except things as they are and change things you can change.
Scott don't lose your faith,we are all God's children and we are each different.God will help you through this, just ask.
Prayers to all
Toni

 
Old 01-18-2006, 07:41 AM   #5
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

I hesitate to post this because it seems that everyone on this particular thread is religious. I think that either way, if you're religious or non-religious, dealing with MS is hard. If you're non-religious, like me, and you believe that life is random and there is no "reason" or "lesson" to be discerned or learned from this disease as far as a God is concerned, this creates it's own set of problems and fears about life. If you are religious, then I can imagine very much there would be anger and resentment about why this is happening to you.

It's natural for humans to want to know the why of things. Sometimes there isn't a Why. That's, for me, where acceptance comes in. I have to accept that I have MS even though I don't know WHY or HOW or WHAT lies ahead for my future. It's a lot to swallow. and somedays it's easier than others to accept.

 
Old 01-18-2006, 07:50 AM   #6
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

Sunshine...don't hesitate to post. We all need to hear what each other has to say. You are an important part of this board!

 
Old 01-18-2006, 10:51 AM   #7
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

I believe in God. I don't blame Him.

Most days I do what I can - and I'm fine.

Other days, like today, I cry on and off cause I want my old life back.

I think everyone - diagnosed or not probably has days like that. When it seems like such a struggle and you wonder where you will pull the strength to keep going. Even with your beliefs.

Then some little thing - a child walking in and smiling at you, a flower, a call from a friend....picks you back up and you're fine again. Until the next time.

At least that is my life.

P.S. Sunshine - It's ok. It's still a belief/faith in something right?

Last edited by curiousforever; 01-18-2006 at 10:56 AM.

 
Old 01-18-2006, 11:12 AM   #8
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

I am also 'Bapticostal' (I love that word lilc!) I believe that nothing is random. I believe that there is a purpose for everything that happens, even the really, really bad stuff.

My family's life reads like a very lame soap opera, with everything from hitting and killing a pedestrian to aggressive MS (which caused a heart attack) to RSD to 2 ruptured disks to bipolar disorder/schizophrenia to autism to a wrist reconstruction to the minor stuff, like a torn rotator cuff, torn perineal tendon and perforated esophagus. And LOTS more inbetween. All of this in just my husband, myself, three children and one grandchild, and all of this just since the year 2000. People call my husband "Job" and me "Jobette".

But you know what? We are a blessed, upbeat family. We don't live in denial (denial is NOT a form of faith). We live knowing that this stuff is a part of the fallen world we live in, and that God is using all of it for His glory and our good. Much of the good we have already seen, and some of it we still don't understand (and may never), but we are confident that it is a good work in progress.

Some might ask 'what could possibly be the good in all of this'?

Well, we are so much closer as a family than almost any other family I know. We are all there for each other: helping, crying, laughing, enjoying simple pleasures, and praying together. Our love for each other cannot be put into words. Any one of us would give our life for the other.

Our faith in God has grown so much. You would not believe all of the big and little miracles we've witnessed - the perfect timing of events (especially surrounding my daughter's heart attack); the outpouring of financial and physical help from friends and strangers alike; and my son's three-year-early and expediant honorable discharge from the Marine Corps just as they were set to deploy to Iraq (truly a miracle if you are familiar with the armed forces).

So many people have told us that we are an inspiration to them. They have watched us go through so much, that when they hit a bump in the road they were able to persevere, too.

And finally, our personal strength and integrity has grown. There have been many opportunities to succumb to self-pity and dishonesty in these circumstances, but we have remained firm in our beliefs and have not compromised, even when the financial toll was incredibly heavy.

All of these good things have enabled us to get through these tough times and have nurtured our faith in God. We could not get through all of these circumstances in our own strength - there is no way possible. We rely on His strength and provision.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Thanks for bringing up this topic. Spirituality is such an important component of our health and well-being.

Julie

 
Old 01-18-2006, 11:51 AM   #9
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

Good to hear from you, Julie! Seems like it's been a while since I've seen a posting from you!

 
Old 01-18-2006, 12:40 PM   #10
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

Hi Sunshine! It feels nice to be missed.:0

I've just been super busy with life and had to prioritize. I've been lurking on and off, but not enough time to post. Things haven't really slowed down, but I felt like joining in today. I'm transitioning part of my work load to another woman tomorrow and Friday (I'll be training her), so I'm hoping that a little pressure will come off soon.

I've also been going through medication changes for my RSD (including an antidepressant), and that has been a little challenging, too, but I'm starting to feel like myself again.

Again, it's really nice to get a message from you.

Take care,
Julie

 
Old 01-18-2006, 01:03 PM   #11
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

Scott, I am so sorry you are struggling with your faith in God. I find myself more prayerful, spiritual and filled with gratitude that I am doing as well as I am. There are so many things I could be dealing with that would be worse than MS. My MS and the road I have been on since dx 15 years ago have opened my eyes to the beauty of life and the blessings we have. My niece was in ICU for 6 months when she was 5 months old at Childrens Hosp in our area. She had a huge malignant tumor in her abdomen was on a respirator, had a trach and went through so much. My point is witnessing the miracle not only of her recovery (she is now 7 and amazing) but of so many other children and there families was a life lesson I will never ever forget. I saw Gods work many times during that 6 months and I know angels watch over us. I think I am rambling but my point is look at all the beauty and wonder in this world. MS is a pain and certainly no fun to live with but at least we ARE living. I am grateful for that.... God will help you if you let him. I wish you well and hope you find peace, lucybelle

 
Old 01-18-2006, 04:59 PM   #12
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

thank you very much all of you. and i believe what you guys say whole heartedly. i too, when i think clearly about my situation, come to the conclusion that i would have never, and i mean never, pursured God and the meaning of life, what it means to have faith and so on, if it wasn't for this ill health. it is just something i wouldn't have done. while i was religious, and still am, i always looked at other people's suffering and felt pity for them, but the fact is, is that you can walk away after the day is done, and return to your normal, healthy life. it is only when u become sick that you truely do realize what it means to have faith (how hard it is sometimes). i personally feel i am closer to God (although i still struggle every single day with Him and this life), but realize without these problems i probably would never have ventured down this road.

i still get confused, angry, and such when i think that i wish i could have learned this lesson another way, but then i believe that is impossible. you never really and truely understand suffering until you have experienced it.

the lousy thing is, is that i dont think God will let you go back to how you were before, to being healthy, at least not everybody. the lesson you learn when ur sick like this really makes you appreciate life, what you had, what everybody else has. and for those who learn this lesson i believe are SAINTS in their own right, even though they may not be known to the public in general.

i don't know, but, i'm just still trying to undestand it all, and probably never will, until all is done and i find myself at the gates of Heaven.

when this originally started i felt totally and completely lost. i think i cried a bunch just sitting on my bed. i thought wow, i'm only 23, and i can't believe this. i played college hoops, teach martial arts, and so on (probably like a lot of you in regards to living full lives). so imediatley i was pleading to God, and from there hit a downward spiral in my faith. to make a long story short i've read books by a man named Peter Kreeft (if you haven't heard of him i would recommend him) because i was indeed questioning the existence of God. so through this, my understand of God, Jesus, and the rest of my faith as increased greatly. it is still a fight, but at least i feel im winning now.

and this may sound bizarre but while my faith is strengthening, and i owe that to you people as well, i came across something called Pascal's Wager, you may have heard of it. this more has to do with atheists, but here it is in general:

either you believe in God or you don't. whether we like it or not we're all heading toward's the end. from the moment you're born you're dying. there is no escaping it. and when you die, you're going to be either greeted by God or NOTHING. if you believe in God and there turns out to be nothing then o well, you've lost "nothing". but if there is a God then you gain eternal joy and bliss. If you don't believe in God, and there's nothing, well you're right and you lose nothing. but if there is a God, well, you lose "everything". so its smart to bet with the deity. and also, can you really imagine NOTHING after you die, i mean if that's true, then this, everything you're experiencing now is gone. total annihalation. i mean if that's the case then i curse the day i was born. because this means nothing. its a waste, you can have the best life or the worst life but in the end nada, zilch, it won't mean anything because there's nothing. i find that impossible to believe, especially with like i said, all the research and focus on God since this began.

annnyyyyway, since im rambling i'll end this and please to add more if you like.

life is just too perfect to be a mistake, even though there is suffering. i think yes, people in third world countries, etc., experience chronic, horrible, unspeakable suffering daily and keep fighting. its easy to focus on yourself when things like this happen, but we are indeed, not alone in this battle.

scott

ps. i hear the wait in purgatory for those who suffer greatly in this life is passed aside.

 
Old 01-18-2006, 06:16 PM   #13
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

Scott, I couldn't wait to get home today and see what other had posted. It was wonderful.
My best friend/boss/roommate is a former Catholic, now "Bapticostal". We joined the same church a few months apart (me first, then her and her daughter and husband) 5 years ago or so. It has been fascinating to me to see her struggle with the utter costlessness (probably not a word, sorry) of Heaven, the notion that it is, quite literally, a gift - no charge. She was rather ****** off about that at first. After all, she tried real hard to EARN it!
RE Pascal's Wager excerpt: Good enough. I honestly believe God doesn't care at all WHY we come to believe in Him. Only that we do.
I was raised to believe in an angry, vengeful God. Largely out of fear I got saved when I was 13. Heaven has been mine ever since. But I promptly quit the Lutheran Church (I will never go back!) and launched myself into 30 years of hell on earth. But I came back to church, at 43, and began to realize the concept of sanctification. Near as I can tell, that's where Heaven seeps into Earth. That's where miracles still happen. HEALING still happens.
Now I'M rambling, sorry. But Scott, I don't believe in accidents. You are here for a reason, and it is NOT punishment. Keep searching. Don't give up. It IS possible for you to get your old life back, but more probable that you will live a life much better than you ever imagined.

 
Old 01-19-2006, 09:00 AM   #14
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

Hi Scott,
It sounds like you're in a healthy struggle about your faith. I think it's good to dig deep and ask tough questions. I think it's awesome that you realize that your struggles are forcing you to really examine your faith and God. What a great pursuit! Best wishes to you in this.

lilc,
I am amazed that not only are we 'Bapticostal' sisters, but that like you, I was also raised a Lutheran! I love your explanation of sanctification. I've never heard it put that way, but it's so true!

Blessings to all,
Julie

 
Old 01-19-2006, 06:26 PM   #15
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Re: Chronic disease (MS) and FAITH

After my first mri last year, I was really scared and was thinking about all the possibilities for what was happening to me (l'hermitte's sign). I actually prayed for the first time in a very long time, and what I prayed was "please, just let me have ms!" All the other things I had found (well, aside from something like lyme's disease) were much worse than ms.

Since, I'm not really thrilled to have ms, but it has definitely reorganized my life a little in a positive way. No one knows they will be healthy forever, yet most of us assume we will - that was the biggest thing stolen from me so far by ms. The illusion that I can plan my future. Once I realized it's an illusion for everyone else, too, I actually feel fortunate to know that I have to experience every day as much as I can, make my moments as meaningful as I can. The person who is going to step out in front of a bus tomorrow probably wasted today (and maybe many yesterdays).

The lack of control to plan my life actually led me to more spirituality than I've otherwise had. Living in the moment is something that causes me anxiety and resistance on some days, but when I can achieve it, it feels great. As for the "why bad things are allowed to happen" question, I make sense of it in terms of that I don't really have the omniscent power to decide what it ultimately good and bad - lots of things are connected and maybe some "bad" has to happen in order for something else "good" to be achieved.

By the way, let me know when you figure out what all those "good" things are, that we are allowing to be achieved!

 
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