It would be super cool to write about Itzhak Perlman every week. Alas, such is not my life. Changing the subject…
Dealing with my final epilepsy prognosis is convoluted. Most personal pondering has taken place on the treadmill since there’s NOTHING to do except move my legs, but that’s beside the point. We’ve faced a lot of trials in the past 18 months and this one’s bugged me and Ivan more than many…probably because it’s permanent. We’ve received many loving admonitions recently: everything from “God often uses doctors to give us His final answer” to “Just keep praying for a miracle!”…and some suggestions that fall in between.
My heart naturally gravitated to the first opinion but I felt guilty whenever the miracle suggestion came up. Was it wrong to “stuff” God into a medical box? But He did also create medicine. I didn’t have a good answer.
Today God showed me that even if both sides are plausible, neither is the final answer. It takes two stories to explain.
First, we find a beautiful story in John 9 about Jesus healing a 40-year-old man who was blind from birth. It would be great if you look it up, but if not here’s the Cliff Notes edition 🙂 . I’m sure the blind man resigned himself to being blind decades earlier, and then wham! He could see. Jesus healed him but the crowd was so thick the man didn’t see who had done it. A couple of days later, though, Jesus found the man. After explaining He had healed him, Jesus gave a simple command: “Follow Me.”
Pretty inspirational for the miracle side, huh? But there’s also a darker story too.
In John 21 (Cliff Notes again) Peter is walking and talking with Jesus and promises to keep following Him even after Jesus returns to heaven. Jesus responds with: “Will you really do that? If you do, it involves the same kind of death I died.” I think Peter was pretty dismayed since he turned around and pointed to another disciple. “What about him?” Misery loves company. But Jesus didn’t go down that rabbit trail. “Even if that man lived forever, it wouldn’t matter. You follow me.” For the record, Peter did…and he was later crucified for it.
As much as one story is glorious and the other unsettling, the outcome isn’t the point of either. The point is Jesus wants followers. I’m pretty sure I can rule out crucifixion since most countries don’t do that, but I can’t rule out either a happy ending or a sad one. I also shouldn’t waste time fixating on which one I’ll get. Whether or not my epilepsy changes, my (and every believer’s) job is to follow Jesus no matter what. I need a whole lot of spiritual help getting better at that. And I still have a whole lifetime (and prayer lifetime) to work on that…seizures or not.