By KELLYE SMITH
Headaches, seizures, wheelchairs and faith
“This is what the Lord says: Cursed is the person who trusts in mankind. He makes human flesh his strength, and his heart turns from the Lord.” – Jeremiah 17:15
I was lying on the table and awaiting the machine to take pictures of my brain when I heard it: “This is about to get worse, but I just need you to trust Me.” I felt so much peace as I realized this thought wasn’t my own. A single tear fell down my cheek as the test began.
Three months prior to that test, I’d gotten the worst headache of my life out of the blue. Then, three months after the test, I quickly began losing my ability to walk without a cane. It was days later that I found myself having seizures, one after another, in an emergency room. Still a few days after, my husband and mother stood over me and cried out to God as they held their breath, expecting me to take my last. I didn’t die that day, but I did give up my life and any right I felt I had to my life going one way or another.
I left the hospital and learned to walk, talk and write again. We rejoiced, thankful for the miraculous healing I’d experienced — then, not quite three months after my hospital stay, I found myself back in a wheelchair and very acutely losing my ability to walk without a tremor or throwing myself into a seizure. Then another three months later, I woke up miraculously able to walk again. No tremor. No seizure. But an increase in other neurological symptoms, including that headache that still has never left me to this day. It’s baffling. I’ve often thought back to the day I heard His voice, and I’ve closed my eyes and whispered a “thank you” and an “amen” to God.
He was right. Things did get worse — but He was so kind to speak that into my heart and prepare me. Somewhere along the way, I stopped asking God to heal me. Somewhere along the way, I surrendered the idea of ever getting better. I gave my life to Christ when I accepted salvation, but it wasn’t until my feet were held to the fire that I finally realized what that meant.
The longer I’ve been on this uncertain path, the more the Lord ushers in a tremendous confidence in how He will use my life for His purposes. I have no trust in my body or if I’ll wake up tomorrow and lose even more of myself than I already have. My health, my life, this world, none of it is secure. Yet Christ’s blessed assurance of my place in His kingdom, and how He will use me and my life for His glory, is locked into place. Nothing in this life could compare to what He offers when we abandon our desires and wishes in exchange for His will and glory.
Suffering has taught me so very much more about God than every good and pleasant time in my life. It is only through suffering that I have truly pulled myself closer to Him and, as a result, been able to feel His physical presence. Suffering has given me eyes to see the precious treasure I have in my salvation, bought with profound suffering and loss.
The Lord has sat with me in the depth of incredible sadness when no one could get close enough to help the pain. He has come when I’ve cried as darkness crept into my hospital room. He pulled me from the battle as He shielded and rescued my soul. In my weakness, He is very much strong, and as long as I keep my eyes locked on Him, He will always be more than enough and provide for my every need.
Most Christians go their whole lives praying that the Lord would use them. We read pretty scriptures about how “the Lord is my shepherd…” but until you’ve walked through the valley of the shadow of death, you will never know what all of that truly means.
God is good. Always. My suffering has shown me that not a single one of my circumstances will dictate His goodness, but every single one of my circumstances can glorify Him, and that is a beautiful thing. Truly, our earthly lives will never be sweeter.
Kellye Smith lives in Brandon with her husband and three sons. She is a resource consultant with Ross & Yerger in Jackson, and she and her family attend Grace City Church in Jackson.