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Grace Through the Trials

Updated on August 15, 2016

The High School Years

Serving in a restaurant. That was my job during high school when I was not helping my parents out with the little deli our family owned. I enjoyed doing it, and actually was able to pay off my entire first year of college with the money I earned working. My parents always taught me to have a strong work ethic and I always tried to make them proud, and every day I went into work, I attempted to do just that. I also happened to be a part of a high school basketball team during my high school years (even though I wasn't very good) but I enjoyed playing very much. I said all that to say this: I was busy during high school and I do not regret it at all. With the busyness, I experienced something that literally changed my life forever.

Epilepsy is neurological disease that is more common then some think.
Epilepsy is neurological disease that is more common then some think. | Source

The Scary Event

It all began to happen one night after coming home from basketball practice. I was obviously tired and decided to take a quick nap before having dinner. I immediately fell asleep and next thing I know, my mom is waking me up for dinner (Good thing I didn't oversleep that!). Groggy, I stumbled out of bed and made my way downstairs to eat. I proceeded to sit at the table, and, as a family, we prayed for the meal, and began to eat and talk about our day. Yet, something didn't feel right for me. I felt...weird and I did not know why. Then, all of a sudden, without any warning, I twitched. My arm moved and I did not knowingly do it. I knew something was wrong right away, but out of fear, I refused to say anything. Then I twitched again, this time a little more violently. Then both my arms twitched. My heart began to race, something definitely was not right. My mom noticed it too and proceeded to ask me if I was OK. I shrugged it off and told her I was fine and nothing was really wrong. Yet, the twitching didn't stop and now was becoming more frequent. My mom jumped up out of her seat and ran over to me. My body was now completely convulsing by this time. A grand mal seizure had taken complete control over my body, and I could not stop it. My mom and stepdad moved me away from the table, away from any objects, and laid me on the floor. After about a minute, they bring me to the car and rush me to the hospital. On the way, one of the scariest moments in probably my mom's entire life happened: As I was in her arms in the back of the car, my eyes rolled to the back of my head. She thought, at that very moment, I had died in her arms. My stepdad immediately pulled the car over and dialed 911.

The Hospital Bed

The paramedics arrived, stabilized me and brought me as quick as possible to the nearest hospital. The seizure was beginning to subside. Preliminary questions were asked to me in reference to my name, address, phone number, day of the week, etc. I knew my name but I believe was confused on everything else. I had a splitting headache, my whole body felt like I played basketball for 24 hours straight: It was extremely sore when I moved! I couldn't comprehend all that was going on. It all happened so quickly. They kept me in the hospital overnight for observation and did a CAT scan, upon which I was released the next morning. I thought it was all over, that I was never going to go through this terrible experience again.and I can go back to living life like normal.

Yet, about a month or two later, I woke up in the middle of the night to find a few paramedics standing directly over me. Apparently, my older brother, who was in a room right next to me that happened to have a small window so we could talk to each other at times, was woken up out of his sleep by a constant thumping sound coming from my room. He peered over the window that separated our rooms, only to find me having a seizure and my head slamming against the wall. He quickly went downstairs and woke up my Mom and Stepdad and told them what was happening. They quickly came to my aid and dialed 911.

Once again, I found myself in the hospital. Only this time it wasn't just an overnight observation. They wanted to do a complete brain scan on me and observe my brain wave patterns overnight (I felt like R2-D2 or something!). My dad ended up spending the night with me, which I thank God for, and I tried to pretend I was ok. Deep down I knew I was scared. I had no idea what was happening to me or why it was happening.

I was called to preach, I wanted to go to Bible college, I wanted to do something great for God and give Him my whole life. Yet, here I am laying in a hospital bed, not even knowing if I was going to be able to do many of the things I have been for so long. Then I began to recall a specific passage of Scripture over and over in my mind while I laid there.


"My Grace is Sufficient for Thee"

II Corinthians 12:7-10 says :"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

This was the passage that kept coming to my mind. The apostle Paul was dealing with an infirmity that he brought to God three times for Him to remove. Yet, Paul did not get his infirmity removed, and God had a reason. You see, Christ told Paul that His grace was sufficient for him. God's grace to get Paul through that difficulty was evident.

Paul even stated that because of the grace of God upon his life that when he was weak physically, God's grace would always be enough to make him strong. He even went as far as to say he took pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions and in distresses. Why? Because he knew for some reason, even though maybe he couldn't see it at that point ant time in his life, God had a purpose and because of that he was just going to trust in God and allow God's grace to give him the strength he needed daily.

I kept thinking about that whole passage as I laid there in the hospital bed and even though I didn't understand it all then, I surely do now. Anyone that knows me well, knows that my memory is not the greatest and I often forget short term things, not intentionally, but it just happens as a result of what I have experienced in my life. Yet, even though at times that can be hard to deal with and accept, I realize now, at the age of 24, married for 2 year, being a youth director, working in a Christian school, and doing other things in ministry and in life, that I am extremely fortunate that I did not end up paralyzed, or with more severe brain damage. God's grace is evident in my life, and I thank God for it every single day.

Reader, there may be times in your life when in the moment, in the middle of the storms and trials your experiencing that you may not understand exactly why it is all happening just like I didn't understand. But please, before you become bitter or angry with God about what happened, consider God's grace in your life and where you really could be. Sometimes, we are so quick to complain, murmur, and shake our fist at God when in the broad scope of things, God's grace has already been more then we could ever ask for. I live in America, a country where I can worship God freely, I have 2 arms and 2 legs that both work and allow me to do things that maybe someone else cannot do. I have ears to hear, and eyes to see, I have a loving wife, a wonderful family that loves me, and a caring God that gave His Son to die for me. I have so much to be thankful for, and it is all because of God's grace in my life.

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    • Kengland13 profile image
      Author

      Kyle England 16 months ago from Laurel, DE

      Yes I do understand the question asked. I personally follow #3, there is a single life with an afterlife. Why exactly would a loving God make children have birth defects? Let me explain this the very best I know how. In Genesis, Adam and Eve had a choice to either sin and eat the fruit or not to eat it. Unfortunately, Eve was deceived by the Serpent and the rest is history as recorded in God's Word. Sin was now introduced. Things that never existed before on Earth, death, disease, and decay, are now apart of mankind. Man had made his choice. Now with birth defects: This was never supposed to be, but, as a direct result of what happened in the Garden of Eden, they are now a reality. Yet, again, why would a loving God do this?? The best answer I know is found in

      John 9:1-38 (KJV)

      1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

      2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

      3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

      4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

      5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

      6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

      7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

      8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?

      9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.

      10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?

      11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

      12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

      13 They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.

      14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

      15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

      16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.

      17 They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.

      18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.

      19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?

      20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:

      21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.

      22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

      23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

      24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.

      25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

      26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?

      27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?

      28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.

      29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.

      30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.

      31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

      32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.

      33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.

      34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

      35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

      36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

      37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.

      38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

      This entire passage talks about a man who had a birth defect. He was blind from his birth. Christ told his disciples after they questioned this man's defect that "the works of God should be made manifest in Him". This man had a birth defect and was healed by Christ. I have my epilepsy so that I can greatly appreciate the things that others may not appreciate. I have to depend more upon God, and as a result He and His grace gets me through the trials of it. On my own, I tried to push on my own, and I failed. Now, I do not know if you have ever experienced a birth defect or something like I have in my life, but maybe you have. Either way, I know personally that God is in control and has a grand purpose that I cannot see sometimes. The birth defects of those I have seen has drawn them closer to God, and to be honest, they are some of the best Christians I know. Sin has scared all mankind and we sin by choice, nobody makes us do it. Nobody taught me to lie, to cheat, or to steal. Yet, we teach our children to do the opposite of those things. God has allowed the birth defects of certain individuals for certain reasons. Some may think that He is not a "loving God" yet I disagree. I have epilepsy, yet I know God still loves me and gave His Son to die for me. You may agree or disagree with this lengthy comment, but I know God is loving even though some may think otherwise.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 16 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Yes, we are finite and will never understand the infinite. There seems to be three theories which may explain birth defects: 1. reincarnation (some believe this is in the Bible), 2. a single life with no afterlife (random), and 3. a single life with an afterlife.

      If you follow #1, there is an explanation for birth defects.

      If you follow #2, there is no explanation.

      If you follow #3, "Why would a loving God make birth defects?"

      Now do you understand the question?

    • Kengland13 profile image
      Author

      Kyle England 16 months ago from Laurel, DE

      There are many things in life that do not have an explanation and we will never understand fully. All I can say is that it goes beyond Reincarnation, which is not even in the Bible to begin with, and "Karma". We often times try to put the understand of an infinite God into our finite minds, and that is simply impossible. No birth defect is "random" as we would think it to be, but there are those that are the direct result of poor choices made by parents during pregnancy. Regardless, that child and individual is still special and has very much a place on this world just like anyone else. I know several people with different "special characteristics" that others may think are not necessarily "normal" . Yet, God has a specific purpose for them in their lives. Do we know what exactly that is? Of course not, it comes back to Him being infinite and us being finite.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 16 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      I do not understand. Why would a loving God make birth defects? Reincarnation and Karma is a possible explanation, but if you do not believe in reincarnation what is? The single lifetime theory provides no answers except, "just accept it or Grace." That is no explanation. Early Christians did believe in reincarnation. Perhaps birth defects are just random and there is no afterlife.

    • Dr CHE Sadaphal profile image

      CH Elijah Sadaphal 16 months ago from New York, NY

      "consider God's grace in your life and where you really could be."

      What was the most compelling about your hub is how you have embraced God grace, which has so powerfully animated your perception of life's experiences. For sure, it is only by His grace that anything is possible.