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“Every detail in our lives of love for God..”

“The Christian life is going to God.  In going to God Christians travel the same ground that everyone else walks on, breathe the same air, drink the same water, read the same newspapers, are citizens under the same government, fear the same dangers, are subject to the same pressures, get the same distresses, are buried in the same ground.

The difference is that each step we walk, each breath we breathe, we know we are preserved by God, we know we are accompanied by God, we know we are ruled by God; and therefore no matter what doubts we endure or what accidents we experience, the Lord will guard us from every evil, he guards our very life” (Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction).

Thirteen years ago, when I lost eyesight in my left eye, and was eventually diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I had no idea how God was going to use that experience, that diagnosis in my life.  I was angry and upset with God.  I couldn’t understand why this would be happening to me at that particular time in my life, when I had just gotten engaged to Nils and decided to serve God as a missionary for one year in Oaxaca, Mexico.  I remember many days the tears kept falling and crying out to God in despair and anger.

God gave me Romans 8:28 to cling to as his promise.  “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”.  I certainly didn’t understand how God could use MS for good, but somehow, I trusted.  God gave me faith to trust in him.  There were people who thought I shouldn’t go to Oaxaca after receiving that diagnosis.  They’d ask, what kind of medical service is available there?  And, yet, I knew I had been called.  I knew God would go with me.  And, thankfully, I had the love and support of Nils, my fiance at the time, my parents and my extended family.  Even if we were all afraid, we did trust in the Lord.

Thirteen years later, here I am back in Oaxaca, after giving birth to two beautiful boys, living in two extremely hot climates (Mexicali and Monterrey), and here I am singing praises to our God because during these thirteen years, I have not experienced another single episode related to MS!  (Some doctors had told me that childbirth and heat can affect the disease).  And, during my last visit to my neurologist this summer, after looking at my case, and sharing how diagnosis of the disease has changed over the years, he looked at me and said, “En mi opinion, es muy poco probable que tengas Esclerosis Multiple”.  Translation:  In my opinion, it is very unlikely that you have MS.  Praise God!

So, has God healed me?  Did the doctors diagnose the disease incorrectly in the first place?  Or, is this doctor wrong and do I still have the disease?  Is it possible that I may still have another episode in the future?  I don’t know the answer to any of these questions.  I certainly believe God is capable of healing me.  But, one thing this journey has taught me is that no matter what may happen to us today or tomorrow, God is present.  He never leaves us or forsakes us because “each step we walk, each breath we breathe, we know we are preserved by God, we know we are accompanied by God, we know we are ruled by God”.

And, as I reflect on how God has used this for good in my life, I can see fruit.  Having been diagnosed with MS has caused me to depend on God more deeply and fully for my health.  It has helped break down my pride (not completely, of course!), but I do see how before I left for Oaxaca, 13 years ago, I felt pretty confident in my own abilities.  I felt pretty comfortable in the language already, and I had been trained in business, and all that was going to help me as I helped Fuentes Libres get started with their micro-enterprise loans for women’s community banks.

But, man, God really humbled me during that year!  So much more than what I was able to contribute to ministry, God was teaching me through my Oaxacan brothers and sisters, molding me, making me into who he wanted me to be, so that I could be a different kind of missionary.  One who comes first as a learner and observer.  One who comes to taste and see how God is good in this culture.  One who desires to be completely dependent upon God.

And today I rejoice in the Lord, for He is good.  Eugene Peterson says, “All suffering, all pain, all emptiness, all disappointment is seed:  sow it in God, and he will, finally, bring a crop of joy from it”.  I am slowly learning how to go to God in all things.

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6 thoughts on ““Every detail in our lives of love for God..””

  1. Erika,

    Herb and I read this together just now and are so thrilled to read it. How thankful we are for you, dear daughter in love. And your words are an encouragement to us – in our time of life!
    Love,
    Elaine

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  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I found it very inspiring. We met you and your family two winters ago at camp and I still remember how full of joy peace your family seemed. May God continue to bless you all.

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  3. I’m so grateful for your beautiful testimony to God’s keeping power. I’ve been learning about affliction through a bothersome physical problem (an itch) that persists. No doctors have been able to help so I’ve been searching the scriptures and trusting God. I found an unusual passage in Isaiah 63–unusual because I hadn’t looked in that part of Isaiah for answers. The RSV reads in verse 8b “and he became their Savior. vs. 9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and pity he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” I rejoiced to think of Jesus suffering with me; but more than that I thought how it’s his presence I need–much more than physical healing. So that’s my testimony for now. He has promised healing, but I want to press on to know Him now.

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  4. I’m so grateful for your beautiful testimony to God’s keeping power. I’ve been learning about affliction through a bothersome physical problem (an itch) that persists. No doctors have been able to help so I’ve been searching the scriptures and trusting God. I found an unusual passage in Isaiah 63–unusual because I hadn’t looked in that part of Isaiah for answers. The RSV reads in verse 8b “and he became their Savior. vs. 9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and pity he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” I rejoiced to think of Jesus suffering with me; but more than that I thought how it’s his presence I need–much more than physical healing. So that’s my testimony for now. He has promised healing, but I want to press on to know Him now. Marj Ramgren

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