“But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it'” (John 11:4, ESV).
On Friday December 19 I found out I had Type-2 Diabetes. I had previously found there was a good chance of this on the previous Wednesday. Unlike others who comment on life threatening afflictions and note no worry or fear and a perfect trust and reliance in God, like the Psalmist of old I railed against my God. I was fearful and I worried. I cried and I shouted. This was one of the hardest things I could face in my life.
It started previous to this last week when, in applying for some life insurance, I was turned down and told some results of my blood work were the reason and it was sent to my doctor. It took some time before I found out the results of the blood work. My blood glucose was very high (3 times the normal amount). It worried me quite a lot. That was Tuesday morning. I spent the rest of the day in the office struggling to understand it all. I thought I was too young to experience some life changing medical condition. I thought, I will have to deal with this the rest of my life. I didn’t want to bear the many things I had become accustomed to in life and consider taking medication for the rest of my life and pricking my fingers day in and day out until I exploded in frustration. I closed my office door and cried. I cried and I cried.
My wife was away with her parents in Pennsylvania which made it all the harder. I called her but it was as if she were a million miles away. I was so worried and scared about it all. I couldn’t find the “peace” that so many claimed to find when finding out about life changing conditions. Instead I cried out to God for Him to explain how this was just and righteous of Him. I cried out for mercy and for freedom from this. I even held out hope that perhaps the results were wrong and that when I went for further tests I would find out I didn’t have diabetes. That was misplaced hope.
My wife though said one thing to me in an e-mail that Tuesday that helped me put things into perspective. It was “I think we need to just calm down here.” She was right. I needed to calm down. I didn’t even know for sure I had diabetes at that stage but it was good to hear. I needed to calm down and remember God is sovereign and in control and fully good. I struggled still with it, but even come Friday when the doctor told me officially I had diabetes and that I had to start taking medication and adjust my diet and start pricking my fingers, I was not as upset. And as I shared with my wife in reflecting on this rather sudden change in our lives (the one thing my wife noted was how young I am; she anticipated having to deal with things like this but not so early in our marriage), John 11:4 came to my mind.
Now, the context of John 11 is the sickness, death, and resurrection of Lazarus. Lazarus’ sisters sent to Jesus to tell him he was sick. Jesus replied, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now, Lazarus did die, but Jesus allowed this for a greater showing of His glory through the resurrection of Lazarus. But, this still brings comfort to me.
While diabetes is a serious illness, it is not one that leads to death. Sure, it can contribute to death, and of course death faces all of us, but if one is careful at how he manages his diet, gets exercise, and check his sugar often, he can live a long and normal life. So, I revel in that this illness does not lead to death. I can have many years of ministry and many long years with my wife. One day the Lord will take me to be with Him, but even then, through my relationship with Jesus Christ, even whatever illness that leads to my physical death will not lead to my spiritual death as I await the incorruptible to cover over corruptible; as I wait for an eternity of worshipping and glorifying my great Lord and Saviour.
So, this illness does not lead to death. And as the Lord told Paul long ago, my grace is sufficient for you. His grace is still sufficient for me, and Lord willing God would be glorified in this illness. That is my prayer. That the Lord would help me to live my life in a way that prolongs my life upon the earth so I have more time to serve Him and serve my family. I pray that I can be a solid testimony of the reality of sin and its effects but also of the peace and grace that are available to us through Christ Jesus. Will I struggle and become frustrated in this condition? I most certainlywill. Do I worry any longer? No. I know that my God provides all I need for a life of faith and godliness through Christ Jesus my Lord. And my prayer then is for many long years of life on this earth so I can glorfiy my God in all that I do, including living with this illness that does not lead to death.