Exercising Faith When Dealing With Health Problems—My Ten Year Journey

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For over fifty years I enjoyed excellent health. Then things started to go wrong. I’m not referring to the kind of health problems that put you in the hospital, or the kind where the doctors find a serious condition or disease.

I’m referring to the class of health problems that are like having a heavy ball and chain attached to you. It makes the daily journey much more difficult. No longer do you spring out of bed and attack the day with a “full speed ahead” attitude. Now you’re required to manage your energy, both physical and mental.

People begin to notice a change in your appearance. Initially, they tease you about it, but then they see that the “bad day” they thought you were having, has become a daily event.

With that brief background, I’d like to share with those who may be interested, what I did to deal with the spiritual side of my difficulty. I found going from robust, to compromised health in a matter of weeks, a humbling and challenging experience.

As I have grown in my understanding of how to access the Lord in times of need, I have learned the following simple, yet powerful Spiritual truths:

1. God loves all of His children, but those who make covenants (2 Nephi 30:2), and sincerely (Alma 33:11) seek to keep them, are favored (1 Nephi 17:35).

2. Our sincerity can be determined by our willingness to change. Change is another word for repentance. Never stop trying to change/repent. Note: Repentance is something that should be practiced all the time, not just when we’re sick. I’m not suggesting the cause of health problem is unrepentant sin.

3. When we are in the grip of a crisis–of any kind–ask God what He wants us to learn from it? Then listen–ask for strength to endure.

4. Have a frank conversation about your feelings (anger, doubt, fear and etc) with God, but remember you signed up for what you’re going through. It’s part of our mortal experience.

5. Ask God to help you understand your relationship with Him. When you get to the point where you feel that taking counsel from Him is better than counseling Him, you’re making progress.

6. Seek to understand the Book of Mormon’s teaching about the Doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31-32). Understand that when you were baptized it was so you could obtain a remission of your sins. Receiving a remission of sins is one of the primary purposes of life (Mosiah 27:25).

7. Seek for, and exercise faith in priesthood blessings. Ask for permission to have someone record, or write down notes as the blessing is given. Read it daily, pray about it daily, and seek to do everything you can to live up to the counsel given in the blessing. Pray to be led to those who have the gift to heal. Note: If there is something said in the blessing that is confusing or you disagree with, you are under no obligation accept it.  I sought multiple blessings because my illness lingered for years.

8. When you feel the worst (pain, disbelief, confusion), persist in prayer, scripture reading, and talking with people of faith. Try to stay away from those who write or speak the language of disbelief. Exercising faith takes concentration and discipline.

Based on my experiences, the veil will become thinner, blessings will come, and the Lord will support or deliver you according to His will (Alma 36:3, 38:5).

My experience was like riding a roll-a-coaster. About the time I thought I was improving something else would go wrong. This cycle was repeated over and over.

Today, I am in pretty good health. My problems have leveled out, even though they are not entirely resolved. But gone, I hope forever, is the presence of the kind of pain that caused me to pass out. Gone is the depression that concealed my mental energy and made me wonder if life had any meaning and purpose. Gone is the desire to with draw from social activity because I was worried about my appearance—pale, gaunt, hollowed eye.

To avoid any confusion, I’ll close this post by saying I’m grateful to those who are in the medical profession. We live in a day where the Lord has provided many wondrous medical remedies. I always listened carefully to these professional, but the decision for my health care is a personal decision.

To those who are experiencing health problems like I’ve described, or for those who have something much more seriousmy heart goes out to you. I hope something I’ve written may be of help to you. I hope you can find God’s comforting presence when things are at there worst. I hope you can find relief and healing.

Please feel free to leave any ideas you’ve found that may be helpful to me and others.

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