Pastor Jeremy Lim shared with us in a sermon about keeping calm and keeping the faith in the Lord in three situations:
- When situations are uncontrollable
- When people are unchangeable
- When problems are unexplainable
Let our hearts be encouraged by sister Sheryn who attends the Chinese church when suddenly, she was afflicted with an unexplainable health problem.
I was in my bed on a Sunday night scrolling through my phone, grateful that the toughest week was finally going to end. Just as I was about to call it a night, I sensed that my left hand, especially the last two fingers, went really numb. I thought it was just temporary.
After one minute, it was still there. Two minutes. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Thirty minutes. It still didn’t go away.
I started panicking and quickly wake my housemate up. It was past 1 o’clock midnight. After consulting my housemate’s father who’s also a doctor, it was decided that I would try to sleep it off, hoping that the numbness would be gone by the next day.
It didn’t, and the pain became worse and worse. The numbness slowly developed into burning and shooting pain, along with the feeling of tingling and numbness. I didn’t sleep that night.
With the help of certain medications that cause drowsiness, I could still hardly sleep in the next couple of weeks due to the pain. I found that I am allergic to certain painkillers, so I had to endure the pain without the most promising medicine. I met various doctors, Orthopedic, neurologist and did several tests. The doctor concluded that I have mononeuropathy – damage that occurs to a single nerve called ulnar nerve which travels down the arm to the wrist, hand, and ring and little fingers – but the cause was not found. I have no family history. There was no trauma. Blood test was normal. It was unexplainable. I was confused.
Due to the increasing pain, cramps and swelling on my left hand, the doctor was worried about permanent damage to my nerve and admitted me to the hospital for steroids drip to help reduce nerve inflammation. After three days of drip, I was put under long-term oral steroids, starting from 10 steroid pills a day and other nerve medication.
These medication came with the side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, weight gain, swelling of hands and feet, depression, growing pimples, and so on. Due to the nerve injury, I started losing strength on my left hand which affects my ability to grip and pinch.
“Hi Sheryn, what are you doing?”
“How are you cutting your nails?”
“Using my toe.”
I broke many glasses at home. I could not lift my arm due to the pain. I was told that I may not be able to play guitar anymore.
Day-by-day, I slowly became hopeless and depressed. Pain was the worst at night. I questioned the God who allowed pain and suffering, but He didn’t seem to care. In many of those sleepless nights, I played the song “It is well, with my soul” over and over again, but my heart refused to trust. I asked repeatedly, “Why me? Why?” He remained silent.
One night, I woke up from pain again at 3 o’clock in the morning. I began sobbing, and started having suicidal thoughts. I tried calling the phones of two of my housemates for help. They didn’t pick up my phone. Of course, it was 3 o’clock midnight.
My mind was then directed to the painkillers which I was banned from taking, believing that it could be the best solution. Just as I was about to reach out for them, I saw the journal next to my bed. That’s the journal that I used to pour out to God, but had not done that ever since the inflammation hit.
So I did. I began to journal my bitterness against God. I wrote, “God, I’m in pain. Where are You? It’s been weeks of sleepless nights. How long more? You said You’re the Healer and ever so powerful God. I asked You to take away my pain but where are you Lord?” I put down the pen and began weeping again.
Suddenly, at that very moment, my phone rang. It was 3.46am. Both my housemates texted me at the same time, asking if I was alright. Before I could reply, both of them rushed to my room to check on me. They told me that they were awaken suddenly but could not explain why.
I immediately broke down in tears. At that very moment, I knew very well that God has heard my cry.
No, He didn’t answer my questions, but I know for sure that He cares for me and He is with me, all the time. My housemates prayed for me, and I was able to sleep through that night.
It has since been about 10 months. The pain has subsided, but the numbness has not gone away. The muscles on my left hand are wasted.
As I reduced the medication gradually, the withdrawal symptoms too have taken a toll on me. There was no promise of full recovery.
“Is this cheating?”
“No. No. You are…”
And I was told that the regeneration of nerve would take only 1mm a day.
Each time I look at my clawlike left hand, I still ask God, “How long more?” but I did not get an answer.
So I asked my occupational therapist why as well.
“Don’t ask why. It’s like that.”
I did not get an answer.
As I journey through the dark valley, finding reasons to persevere and trust, I began to notice some dimming lights. My dad did not believe in God, and I have been praying for his salvation for years. But he began praying to God for my recovery and even praying for me.
I tried picking up guitar again, and found myself slowly able to play the C key chords and progress to key of G and beyond. Even when I’m not feeling or getting the answers I want, God is still working.
Perhaps, it was never about knowing “why” and “how”. It is only about knowing Him, His goodness and faithfulness.
🙏 Pray for Sheryn as she continues to know God, His goodness and faithfulness in the midst of her unexplainable health problem.
🎶 Sing/Listen to the hymn “It is well with my soul.”