Interruptions – sometimes they bring surprises that are exciting, but usually they are unwelcome. A few years ago I had an interruption from God. I had just come back from vacation when I started having double vision. The eye doctor said it was sinuses so I went to a general practitioner. By this time my eyelids were half closed and puffy. He had no clue what was going on suggesting a sinus infection or the need to see my thyroid doctor. Therefore on day 3, I went to the thyroid doctor who saw, not only the above symptoms, but also that I had trouble chewing and slurred speech. He claimed the other 2 doctors should have figured it out and said it was just a sinus infection. By this time I couldn’t drive and my mom was staying with me to help navigate – literally. On the evening of day 4 since nothing had improved we made plans to go to the Urgent Care the next morning. Thank the Lord for a doctor with great deductive skills – he knew almost immediately that I had Myasthenia Gravis (I call it MG for short). MG is an autoimmune disease where the nerves and muscles don’t communicate thus the drooping eyelids, double vision, trouble chewing, occasional slurred speech and muscle weakness in extremities. He referred me to a neurologist, but told me it would take 2 weeks or more to get an appointment! However, God is faithful! One of my best friends was telling others at church what the doctor had diagnosed and the referral problem. One of those listening said a friend was a neurologist and she’d call him. Not only did she call him, but the doctor saw me the next day! He confirmed the diagnosis and was impressed that a general practitioner, not a specialist, diagnosed it.
Once I began taking the medication for MG things began to improve slowly. I was in good physical shape, but that didn’t matter as the autoimmune disorder had taken control. The first few weeks I still couldn’t chew my food – it had to be pureed and eaten through a straw, and I had to hold my electric toothbrush with 2 hands, but I improved. I had to slow down; let the doctor’s plan work; and realize I was not in control. (Oh, Lord, you know how to bring us to our knees so that you can teach us!) I was out of work for about 3 full weeks – it’s hard to drive or work with double vision. But even when I went back to work, it was only for half days until I could get my endurance back. What a journey that was. I was never so glad to return to work! It’s no fun being at home if you can’t read, watch TV or even have the energy to DO something. And if you know me at all, you know I move at a fast pace – and patience, well, it’s not my forte.
My life had been interrupted, yet God continued to remind me that I can put all my cares on Him. My body was weak, but God showed me He is strong. God also taught me that my ability to “do” might have been limited, but I could always pray. Friends would send Bible verses as encouragement and I’d use them to guide my prayers – both for myself and others. Psalms 34:17 became a favorite: The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. These words encouraged and strengthened my prayer life and my fellowship with God.
Interruptions from God are opportunities. Priscilla Shirer, Christian author and speaker, puts it this way: “Divine Intervention + Yielded Submission = ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE.” For me it was the opportunity to grow in my love and dependence on God as well as an opportunity to develop a deeper prayer life. If you are experiencing an interruption, what is God teaching you? Are you treading water or are you resting in the peace that only God can give? As the Bible says, cast all our cares on him (God) for he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
A great resource and small group study for finding opportunities in your interruptions is Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer (Lifeway Press 2010).