In people’s eyes, I seemed to be useless due to my severe disability, and my life was meaningless and worthless. But the Lord, who is merciful and compassionate, let me know the meaning and value of life.
Shi Tiesheng, a late famous writer, said that his profession was being ill. He was paralyzed at 20 and later suffered from uremia, living in a wheelchair all his life.
A reporter once asked him, “What is your attitude toward your illness?” He said, “I respect it... definitely, I don’t like it much, but what can you do with it? You may choose to dislike it or hate it, but this won’t bring you anything except pain and complaint. What you can do is respect it, and regard it as a powerful opponent, as well as a trial and reward for you. You may seem reluctant, but this is the way that you can finally learn something from it."
I am also a severely disabled person who has been ill for decades. I can’t stand up or walk, only accompanied by a sickbed. In the long-suffering of illness, only by the help and the strength given by the Father could I understand something. However, those who don’t know Him won’t understand what I have understood.
More than 20 years ago I wrote an article, the content of which was that I realized the new meaning of life in my illness. The article concluded that if it were not for illness, my life would not be corrected and my mind would not be purified. Praise the Lord! This must be the work that the Holy Spirit illuminates and guides me.
I mailed this article to a distant friend, asking him to help me revise it. He said that the first part of my writing was good, but not the second part, saying, “Do you mean to thank the illness by writing like this?”
Actually, I didn’t mean to welcome the illness. However, it was through the illness that I began to understand some truths, what true beauty or ugliness is, and what true goodness or evil is in life, especially by reading the Bible over and over again under the light and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It was through the illness that I could really observe the goodness and evil of the human heart, and the warmth and fickleness of human friendships. What’s more, it was also through the illness that I could reflect on my own mistakes in life.
I have said more than once that I make up my mind to fight the illness to the end. The illness is the enemy of the patient who shall not only hate this enemy but also pay attention to it, just like fighting a war. In the illness, one shall always be aware of its fierce attack and be prepared to fight. When you win the battle, this victory does not mean the elimination of the illness or the recovery of the body, but also the health of the soul. That indicates a sick patient, as long as they overcome the mental illness, will be the winner.
Having rheumatoid arthritis at 17, I have spent the last 43 years in pain. Although the illness damaged my body, I felt lucky that I could read the Bible during my days of illness. Enlightened and helped by the Holy Spirit, I have known what righteousness is and what sin is, as well as my own sin. I reflected on it, regretted it, and received new life from Jesus, the Savior of the world, the one true God.
In Isaiah 30:20-21, although God the Father gave me bread of adversity and water of affliction, he really showed Himself to me and guided me to walk in His right path.
My body was damaged by illness, though, the Lord saves my soul and shows the meaning and value of life to me.
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times and the writer is a severely disabled Christian from Tanghe County, Nanyang City, Henan Province).
- Translated by Stephen Huang