Every follower of Jesus has a testimony of how he or she started a relationship with Christ. The Apostle Paul’s testimony in the book of Acts displays one of the most interesting life changing encounters with Jesus. My testimony may not be quite as impressive as Paul’s, but it was the testimony that was planned for me by God. I am excited to share my story with you!
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“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!(ESV) -Philippians 4:4
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)” -Philippians 4:7
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)” –Romans 8:28
I can’t breathe well. It’s May and I have not been able to stop thinking about my breathing since December. It started with a chronic cough and now my lungs feel like cement. I head over to the emergency room because I’m just tired of not being able to take a breath without pain.
They admitted me because I was not responding to any inhalers. They did a bronchoscopy on me to look into my lungs. My pulmonologist showed me pictures of what she saw and says, “I can’t believe you were still breathing, your airways were almost completely closed.”
So what’s going on with me, I ask. My heart is healthy (3 years post heart attack). Now it’s my lungs that are failing me?! Come on! Can’t I get a break?! Labs come back which reveal 3 different kinds of bacteria and 1 kind of mold growing in my lungs; Prednisone (I have heard it called the “devil’s pill”), the culprit. This oral steroid suppresses my inflammatory response but it also suppresses my immune system which then invites opportunistic infections. It’s a catch-22; I need it to keep my lungs from acting up but it also puts me in harm’s way. Asthma is what I have; severe, uncontrolled asthma.
It’s now September and my breathing is not getting better, it is actually worse. I can’t play with my sons without having to stop to catch my breath feeling like someone just punched me in my stomach, stunning my solar plexus. I can’t speak to someone without having to take a deep breath before, then feeling out of breath after. I can’t even go down to tie my shoes without feeling like I just climbed up a mountain as I stand back up.
Honestly, I have had times of weakness feeling depressed and hopeless, but hey, I’m only human. These are human feelings, but when I do feel like this I praise God that He points me back to the cross and brings hope back into my life. God says, If you love me you will follow my commandments (John 14:15). Philippians 4:4 is a commandment; He tells his followers to rejoice, always. Now how does one do this even during times of hardship? Through Jesus. God is perfect, He does not make mistakes (Psalm 18:30). I say to myself, “I love Jesus, and I am called according to His purpose, therefore, He will make all things work out for me”. Sound familiar? Then I rely on the promise that the peace of God will guard my heart and mind and that His peace cannot be compared to anything else in the world because there is none like it. It’s even greater than the peace and love my precious wife gives me.
You see, I can sit in a dark room and focus on my problems, but that’s not going to fix them (Luke 12:25). So I choose to tap into my “Jesus high” and pray that He shows me His goodness in all this. I pray that He reveals to me the purpose that He has for me. I may not be the Apostle Paul sitting in jail waiting for my death sentence, but I can say the same thing he said, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).” I can go through the highs and lows of life as long as Jesus is with me. I may not be physically healed (yet!), but my heart is full.