I have Multiple Sclerosis, and have had it for a bit over 23 years.  The first episode I had numbed the left half of my body from the shoulder to the foot.  With medication it went almost entirely away, with just some slight lingering numbness in my left hand that I could handle.  Other smaller episodes of it coming and going occurred for some years after that, but then it left for about 10 years (again, with those initial leftovers being the only hint of it) until 2006, when I had a larger episode.  I recounted that time in a previous blog post.

As I said back then, the treatment in 2006 was much different than in 1986, and I got back most of the feeling in my right arm.  This still left some numbness in my right hand, which, while more so that what was in my left hand, still allowed me to touch-type (and being a programmer, typing is essential).  I also had numbness in my feet and lower legs, but the treatment removed most of that as well.

MS comes in two forms; the kind that comes rather swiftly and then goes away with treatment, and the kind that continue to creep slowly through the body.  I’d always had the former.  However, after the 2006 episode, it seems I had some of the creeping kind.  I noticed, after the treatment, that if I walked for too long, perhaps a couple of miles or so at a stretch, that my right leg would start to drag, as though the nerves telling it to move were keeping the signal from getting there easily.  A bit of a rest — 15 minutes or so — and I’d be back going again.  Imperceptibly, however, this distance before the leg started to drag began to shrink.  It never seemed to be a big deal until I realized that how far I could walk during a few different annual events (camp outs, quiz meets, those sorts of things) was noticeably different if I remembered how I was the previous year.  When I thought of it this way, I could see that things were indeed getting worse.  I could go no more than a quarter of a mile, and sometimes not even that, before the leg started dragging.  (After a long drive with some of the youth, in a van where the cruise control wasn’t working, my leg was immediately useless upon exiting the van.)

One of the things I’ve considered on and off over the years was asking God to heal me.  I was a little hesitant, however, because, as I noted in the other post, God had already made it very clear to me that He could do it, He just wasn’t doing it at the time.  Fair enough; I could live with that.  And in living with that, I got the idea that I shouldn’t pursue that, other than the occasional requests for healing at our church.  I would be prayed over, but I never really expected something instantaneous because I figured He’d do it when and if He wanted.  And indeed, nothing much ever happened.

But this summer, I began to get this desire to really pursue a healing from God.  Part of it was realizing that I was really unable to participate in my older son’s Boy Scout events, and that my younger son was hitting his Cub Scout Webelos years.  Part of it was I was just plain tired of the whole MS thing.  But a big part of it was that I came to the realization that God didn’t necessarily want this for me either.  He could certainly work through it, and He had.  (God’s hands are not tied because of mere sickness.)  But I felt now that He wanted me to really pursue Him and a healing.

Perhaps my old attitude of resignation was wrong.  Was my "leave it in His hands" attitude just fatalism at work?  Or perhaps it was right, and perhaps now was the time He wanted to do this.  I suppose I could second guess this forever, but at this time I felt like I really should actively pursue this now.

But I didn’t, really, except for having that desire to pursue it.  I didn’t really do anything to get closer to God and find out the direction He wanted me to take with this MS.  Until our church started a 21-day fast just over, well, 21 days ago.

I had a couple of things that I was fasting about and one of them was for complete healing from the MS.  I really had it in me to earnestly ask for it, unlike any other time before.  As our pastor noted, fasting is not a formula for getting something from God — I do this so He does that — but it’s a time to get more in alignment with Him.  The more we are under His leadership and guidance, the better off we are, regardless of our circumstances.  But deciding that, for a time, some things are more important to us than food, gives us a chance to concentrate on a few specific thing to talk with Him about and listen for His thoughts on the matter.  During those 21 days, whenever my stomach growled I’d pray for the specific things I was concerned about.  During an extended prayer meeting in the middle of the 21 days, I asked to be prayed over for healing.

And something happened.

Before the end of the fast, I noticed 2 things.  First, numbness at the tips of my fingers had receded a bit, enough that I noticed it both in my fingers themselves and my typing speed.  Again, for a programmer, this is good news.

But one day, when I was out with my kids enjoying our new hobby of geocaching, I noticed something.  One of the caches we were looking for was along our local town’s "greenway"; a walking/biking trail.  At the start of the trail, my GPS said we were 0.8 miles from the cache.  We got there, looked around for perhaps 15 minutes, then walked back, a round trip of 1.6 miles plus some searching.  As we neared the parking lot, I realized that my right leg was not dragging.  Now, it was still a little clumsy at time, but I wasn’t tripping over my own foot or having to swing it around front to keep walking.  It was doing what I told it to, and at times it was even doing better than my left leg.  It felt like it had more energy in it.  And here I was after that long walk praising the Lord that I’d made it!

Three years of this creeping loss of functionality was gone in less than three weeks.

Yes, it’s not the full and complete healing that I’d asked for, but I’m not done asking at this point.  This, as well as the other thing I was fasting for, are an ongoing process of getting more in alignment with God.  I think what He’s saying at this point is that He can do it, and He will do it as I continue to follow His direction, with the primary result being a closer walk with Him, and with a secondary result being released from this MS. 

He gets the credit and the glory for this.  All I did was be open to what He wanted to do.  And I will thank Him for what He’s going to do, or as some would say, "Dance in advance!"

Filed under: ChristianityLifeReligion

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