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Can You Have a Chronic Illness and Believe in the Word of God?

This world is not perfect. It is filled with sadness, loneliness, and sickness. Sometimes I want to use this as a reason to be angry with God for allowing me to live in this place of negativity.

Following my diagnosis in 2018, my relief of having an answer was quickly followed by more questions. I knew nothing about narcolepsy at the time nor how it would affect my life. Since then, I have tried many different medications and lifestyle changes to help my symptoms.

Struggling to accept change

I struggled with this idea that my life was going to change. On top of this, I feared that with the possibility of this chronic illness getting worse over time, I might not be able to handle my dream job.

After bottling up my fears and disappointments, I finally blew up. I took my frustration out on God: Why would You allow this to happen? How can I live the life I planned with this life-changing diagnosis? What did I do to deserve this?

Months after my diagnosis, the questions and fears building up inside me, I stumbled across a verse in 2 Corinthians, chapter 12.

God is strong when I am weak

In this chapter, the apostle Paul writes about a thorn in his side given by the enemy to keep him from becoming proud. Paul pleaded with the Lord 3 times to take it away, but each time the Lord replied, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9 ESV) Paul then uses this as a reason to boast about his weakness so Christ's power can dwell in him; "for when I am weak, then I am strong."

This story hit me like a freight train. I was so angry with God for allowing this illness to define me. I questioned if I did something to deserve this, thinking perhaps God was punishing me.

But this story of Paul says otherwise. God didn't give me this illness. This is an unfortunate part of being in this world. However, I can use this as a reason to ask God to live through me to show others of His grace and love.

Using my life to encourage others

It won't always be easy, as much as I don't want to admit it. But even through the rough patches, I won't let this take me down. I am a warrior with the most powerful God on my side.

Maybe you have also been angry with God for your particular diagnosis. Let me remind you that you are not alone. There are so many people out there who love you unconditionally and who will support you.

Has a narcolepsy diagnosis affected the way you think about faith? Where do you find support in your life?

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