I have a chronic neuro-muscular condition called Cervical Dystonia. I was diagnosed in 2014. Like a wrecking ball, it shattered my once active life. I used to fly us around the Pacific Northwest in our plane. I used to practice karate. I used to do a lot of things.
This is the first time I’ve revealed my condition online. I’m doing it now because things just got worse. There are so few suffers of this rare condition that a support group must be international. Even then, there are only 2,500 members. Each major holiday we usually lose one or two to suicide. Most have unsupportive family and friends who say the most hurtful things to them. Some have no one, and no income. Tragically, they give up the fight.
I’m blessed to have a supportive, loving, and encouraging wife and family. I’m blessed to have Christ in my life. Some days, despite all my family’s love, only He can reach into the deep place in my heart that needs joy. Until He grants me healing, I join in His sufferings, and I follow His example: not my will, but His be done on earth as it is in heaven. Trust in Him is key, and so is leaning on His Word and not my own understanding.
One of the kindnesses of suffering — at least mine — is the quiet. Life is simple. The stress of managing multi-million dollar projects, for example, is gone. Many times, in that quiet, it is just God and me … and a lot of pain. I can have long quiet times. I can pray. I can reflect. I can write. I think that’s His will for me right now. I just released an updated and edited version of my book, and I have two writing projects scheduled for this year.
Due to the treatments to paralyze the affected neck muscles, I feel close to normal for three weeks out of ten, but then the slide downward begins all over again. It’s frustrating.
Hanging in there is vital. Things change and research continues on this condition. More doctors have become aware of it. Because it’s rare, many sufferers, like me, get misdiagnosed and mistreated for years. Last summer was difficult for me, but then in August a new doctor added something new to the treatments which has lessened the extreme symptoms. I’ll take it.
This is the place from which I write. Through writing I try to comfort others with the comfort and hope I have received from Him. I want others to see the grandeur, greatness, gentleness, and compassion of God in Christ through the power and presence of His Holy Spirit. I want to encourage others to take a deep dive in their faith and to get closer to Christ. Ultimately, I hope to help Christians align their wills, thoughts, and hearts with His. This is what Jesus prayed for in the Upper Room when He prayed for unity.
Many times, I have asked God to remove this thorn in my flesh. He hasn’t yet. The Apostle Paul was right, God’s grace is sufficient and His power is perfected in weakness. Yet, I continue to ask for healing.
I have experienced healing and other miracles first hand over the years. For example, last week God worked radically in my wife’s career. God is good. We’ve been praying about her situation for two years.
In contrast, last week I developed a significant complication which is causing acute pain, stiffness, and more sleeplessness. I didn’t need this, but God is still good. Today, I get an MRI to determine exactly what’s going on in my neck and to see if there is anything the orthopedic surgeon can do about it.
Chronic illness is not fun. Despite it, my goal is to connect deeper with God and to follow Christ in His suffering. Did I mention how important it was to trust God and submit to His will?
God can instantly heal me if He chooses, but then would I get too busy and too distracted to write? I often wonder if has God painted me into this corner to do the one thing He wants me to do.
Jesus is calling you deeper in your relationship with Him.
Dr. Rob Oberto is the award-winning author of “Intimacy With God: Extraordinary miracles that opened a skeptic’s heart to God” available from Amazon.
©2017 Rob Oberto, All Rights Reserved.