Suffering… This Is The Message Of The Cross

easter-cross-images-freeSo it’s been a while since I’ve written an update and boy has a lot happened since my last post!  For starters, I’ve now started on Imuran, a general immune suppressant drug that will hopefully stop my body from attacking my digestive system and allow it to heal.  I have also had two Inflectra infusions, another type of drug called a biologic that specifically targets and blocks the tumor necrosis factor, the part of my immune system that is attacking my bowel.  Although it is still early in my treatment, I have definitely noticed an increase in energy and improvement in my appetite after infusions as well as less pain.  However, that doesn’t mean that it has been all smooth sailing yet.

Last post I said that my GI was trying to set up an MRI for me as it doesn’t use radiation and is therefore safer than a CT scan.  The problem is that they are very expensive and hard to get.  Thankfully he was able to secure one for me and I had it on March 24th.  We were hoping that the scan would show complete resolution of the abscess.  However, at my appointment with the Infectious Disease doctor to go over the results, we found out that due to a lack of abdominal fat, they could not get conclusive enough pictures to tell us much.  It’s ironic, really, considering how all through high school I struggled with being overweight and now, thanks to Crohn’s, I’m struggling to weigh enough.  From the little they could see on the MRI, the abscess isn’t gone.  Therefore I was given a choice, continue on the antibiotics for another 2-3 weeks and risk getting an antibiotic induced infection such as C-difficile, a real possibility, especially since my Crohn’s meds made me highly immune suppressed, or stop the antibiotics and risk the abscess getting worse again.

How do you make a choice like that in a split second, especially when neither option sounds good?  It’s at times like this where your faith in God gets tested.  We made the decision to take me off the antibiotics, not wanting to take a chance with C-diff.  That meant weekly bloodwork and another CT scan to make sure the infection from the abscess wasn’t coming back again.  After nearly two weeks off the antibiotics and no sign of recurring infection as well as a good appointment with the Infectious Disease doctor, I thought I was in the clear.  However, three days later I was back in the ER and all the signs pointed to C-diff despite the precautions we had taken getting me off the antibiotics.  As we waited for results, I poured my heart out to God, begging him to not let it be that.  Anything but that.  Then the results came back confirming our worst fears and I completely broke down.  Why was this happening to me?  Why wasn’t God healing me?  Wasn’t a diagnosis of Crohn’s and having Turner’s Syndrome enough?  In other words, I began to doubt and curse my own life the way Job did in the midst of his suffering.  However, throughout the next few days at the hospital, God once again showed up through the kindness of doctors and nurses who assured me that this diagnosis did not mean my life was ending or that I was a leper.

The fact is, C-diff is everywhere in our environment.  People with healthy immune systems usually have no problem clearing it on their own.  In fact, they probably won’t even develop symptoms.  My problem was due to having been on antibiotics a long time and being immune suppressed.  Thankfully I am on the right treatment for the infection and seem to be responding quickly.  It’s interesting that this has happened so close to Easter.  I feel like the suffering I have been through and am still going through is helping me to understand the message of the cross and Jesus’ suffering so much better.  I can also relate to the doubt of the disciples at first in believing the resurrection.  Like Thomas, I feel like,

“Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe”

-John 20:25 (NKJV)

Jesus has compassion on Thomas and he does allow him to do all those things, however he also tells him,

“Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”

-John 20:29 (NKJV)

That is the place that I want to get to in this journey and the message of the cross gives me hope that that is possible.  I love this quote from theologian Dr. David Jeremiah,

“The cross is an expectant cross… It’s a symbol of hope, for God is on one side and all the people on the other side, and Christ Jesus is between us to bring us together.”

Jesus died so that we could have a right relationship with God, one in which growth and restoration is possible.  I might not be completely healed until :18get to heaven, but the message of the cross promises me that my suffering will end one day and in the meantime, Jesus has suffered and understands what I am going through.  Not only that, he also promises to walk with me through it and that is a great encouragement.  Happy Easter and may the message of the cross encourage you as well.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

-1 Corinthians 1:18

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