By Evelyn Drury
The English language has many words that sound alike but have different meanings and/or different spellings. Homonyms (reaching back to my English class in school) are words that sound alike but have different meanings, and homophones sound alike, have different meanings, but also have different spellings. (Thank you, www.magickeys. corn! books/riddles/words.) Whoa, now what am I doing going this direction?
I was asked to write about soaring above a chronic illness, and as I contemplated this I was struck with the difference between soar and sore. I know sore can be an effect of a wound, a bruise, or after having exercised too much but I also know there is another definition of sore: “suffering mental pain; grieved, distressed, or sorrowful: to be sore at heart” (Dictionary.com).
I would like to tell you I have always felt like I was going to soar above this storm, but I can’t. In 2006, I was diagnosed with primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). At the beginning of this journey, I have to admit I was sore. I was not mad at God or anyone else; I was distressed and grieved at all I was going to face, how it would affect my family, and what my limitations would be with PPMS.
Primary-progressive is different than the most common diagnosis of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Many individuals with relapsing-remitting MS will get a symptom and often, after a time, it will relapse and the symptom is gone. It can also be helped with medication. In the case of primary progressive, once a symptom arrives, it is here to stay, progressively gets worse, and there is no medicine to treat it. It is what it is: a progressive, debilitating disease.
Enough of the downer stuff? I thank the Lord every day that He helped me get a grip on this situation early after the diagnosis. Yes, I have a cane, a walker, and a scooter. Yes, I have lost a lot of use on the right side of my body. Even as I am typing this, I am using mostly my left hand to do the work. But, thank the Lord, the progression has not attacked the left side of my body (and yes, I am left-handed. God knew what He was doing when He made me this way).
It was on a Sunday morning while visiting the First Pentecostal Church in Tupelo, Mississippi, that the Lord touched me. There was such a sweet spirit in the service, one of those where I couldn’t stop worshipping and crying. I went to the front of the church, with my left arm raised high and my right arm as high as I could get it. As I was worshipping God, my sweet niece and nephew, Erin and Logan, came to my side and started praying with me, tears streaming down their faces and crying out to God for “Aunt Webbie” (Erin called me that when she was three and it has stuck down through the years).
I would like to tell you I knew right at that moment that God had stopped the progression but it took three years for me to understand what He had done. I was expecting a complete healing and restoration of lost ability, so much so that I completely missed what He did do for me. In prayer He prompted me and brought to vivid remembrance this particular Sunday morning. That was not the only time people had prayed for me and with me but it was from that point on, as my neurologist said, “It has stopped its progression.”
When we see a storm coming, our first instinct is to put up an umbrella, find shelter, and get to safety. The same thing happens when we encounter a storm in life: we want to run and get out of the eye of the storm. An eagle, when faced with a storm, faces it head on. The eagle soars because as the winds of the storm touch the eagle’s wings, it receives strength to soar above the storm.
I thank the Lord every day for stopping the progression of this debilitating disease. I could be bedfast, confined to a wheelchair, cognitively impaired, and my eyesight affected (all effects of the PPMS). So when you see me, don’t feel bad, sorry, or sympathetic. I have been blessed with a great life, great family (chronic illness affects the entire family), and a great God? I tell God I know He can restore my abilities but if He chooses not to, I agree with Paul when he wrote of God’s promise:
“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (II Corinthians 12:9, NW).
I am glad I can soar above the storm!
The above article, “Sore or Soar? Hmm!” is written by Evelyn Drury. The article was excerpted from Reflections Magazine – May/June 2014.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.