Friday, August 3, 2018

Lessons on Faith - Facing the Unknown

The fear of the unknown will often get the better of us. When we are unable to see what is coming ahead or do not know what we will be facing, fear sets in quickly. We find ourselves wanting to slip quietly back into the safety of our beds and just pulling the sheets over our heads. We are paralyzed by fear and unable to enjoy life. The unknown has a definite way of stopping us from enjoying life by having us fear the future. 

As I discovered with my illness, there were so many times when my wife and myself faced the unknown. No sooner would we get the answer to one question, we had five more. Some of the answers we received were no more than guesses or conjecture. We often found ourselves dealing daily with the unknown as doctors and specialists scratched their heads trying to figure out what was happening. We heard several doctors say the same thing, "I do not have a clue about what you are facing." They were very honest, but it was indeed unnerving. 

When you consider that the average human faces 30,000 possible known illnesses, it boggles the mind. When we were told by experienced doctors that they did not know what was going on, we were scared. Finally, after weeks of getting bounced from one doctor to another, we found one who knew what I had and what we were facing. When he received the results of my CT and MRI scans, he was shocked. A look of horror was on his face as he delivered the news that I had to seek immediate help from an experienced healthcare team. In his career, he had only seen four cases of what I had and none of them ended very well.

The healthcare team that was assembled and assigned to get me through this were also afraid of the unknown. There were so many things that they worried about. One question after another came up. More and more specialists and experts were consulted. Each working quickly to save my life. 

Once they were able to diagnose my illness and figure out what bacteria and fungus they were facing, the unknown quickly shifted to the known. The race was on. But, there was one question that lingered on everyone's mind, "Are we too late?" Still more questions popped up. "Is the damage irreparable? Will Jesse die from the infections? Can we stop the progress quickly?" These were the next questions that the team faced. It was a race with an unknown finish line. 

The skilled team was able to get ahead of the infection and save my life. But, the road to recovery was far from over. Due to the insidious nature of the fungal infection, it had buried itself deep into my facial bones. The aggressive treatment could do more harm than good.  There was yet another question and unknown that came to the minds of the specialists, "Was Jesse capable of handling the treatment?"

The unknown scares everyone and causes you to stop living. You are in perpetual fear and doubt. You cannot sleep or eat. You cannot think of anything else and nothing else matters to you. Having faced all of that, I can easily tell you there were times when I just wanted to cover my head and hope that things were going to just go away. My wife and I struggled daily just like anyone would to make sense of all of this. But, we got through it. If it had not been for our faith in God and His mercy and grace, we would have just given up and just let things slip away. 

As we relied more and more on our faith, we remembered the words of Jesus when he preached his greatest message. Let us look at his words in Matthew 6. "31 So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

Instead of worrying about the unknown, we concentrated on the known. We knew that God would provide a way even when it seemed like there was no way out. He provided the right people to diagnose my illness and gave them the knowledge and experience to handle the unknown and drive to find the answers. None of them ever gave up on me. God gave them the strength to fight alongside me to win the battle and save my life.

So, when you face the unknown, think of the known. God is always there. You are so very valuable to Him. So valuable that He gave His one and only son as your sacrifice for your disobedience so that you can have life everlasting. With those known facts firmly planted in your heart and mind, the unknown dwindles away to nothing and you can face tomorrow.

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