Sickness is one of the very few things in life that can push you face down into the mud—even when you are already on your knees. I distinctly remember my doctor scribbling something in my patient folder, then gravely lifting her head and giving me a clear diagnosis. I was 23 and optimistic about treatment; 10 months later, I went into remission.
During the recovery process, I learned that enduring any kind of illness is truly a journey. Some ailments may be cured through a regiment of fluids, chicken soup, and aspirin. Others require a more intensive, long-term treatment plan. Unfortunately, I experienced the latter.
The illness spared me no mercy: my body and mind were both diseased. Yet in the midst of my struggle and on the path to recovery, I also discovered my soul and spirit were just as ill. I knew better than to question God about my circumstances, so I didn’t. I simply expected to get better and trusted that God would bring me through the fire. What I did not expect was that the heat of the fire would melt away my spiritual bondage and renew my mind, soul and spirit in a powerful and dramatic way.
Through my illness, God showed me that my own mind was held hostage by resentment, anger, insecurity, and grudges— all which did nothing but poison my life. It took a debilitating disease for me to awaken to the negative way in which I was living and thinking. I did not know what it meant to be thankful until I was no longer able to leave my bedroom to see what I could be thankful for. I did not truly know what it means to forgive others until I was incapable of feeding myself and had to rely on others for even my most basic needs.
Until I realized that I could not purchase better health or peace of mind, I did not truly understand the meaning of the phrase, “money cannot buy you happiness.” Until my life depended on it, I did not know what God meant when he said, “trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5).