Saturday, August 1, 2020

From Frustration to Faith: Trusting God with My Crohn’s Disease

Do you ever feel stuck? Does it seem as though you’re wandering in a wilderness with no escape?

Many things in life can contribute to this feeling:

  • Losing a job

  • Losing a loved one

  • Unanswered prayer

  • Facing a chronic health condition

We all experience many different things in life, but oftentimes we can empathize with those around us facing trials.

My life hurdle in this season is facing Crohn’s disease. Before my diagnosis, I went through a myriad of medical tests and tried many approaches to alleviating my symptoms such as the MRT food sensitivity test, going dairy- and gluten-free, and cooking every meal from scratch. There is more to the story of how I arrived at the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, but I’ll save those details for another time.

One of the challenges with Crohn’s disease is knowing what to eat. Every person is different. Some can handle cruciferous vegetables; some cannot. Some can tolerate dairy; some cannot. Some can eat nuts and seeds; some cannot. It feels like a game of Russian roulette because when you try certain foods, you have no idea whether they will go down without issue or cause a flare of your symptoms.

In the past few weeks, I’ve become discouraged. Currently, I quite literally eat the same foods every day (smoothie and bone broth for breakfast, pureed carrots or squash with fish for lunch, and steamed vegetables, chicken, and avocado for dinner). There is little variety in flavor or amount of food. Almost all my food is pureed, with the exception of soft proteins and greens that are steamed to mush. My inflammation rates are low according to bloodwork, but I still have symptoms almost daily.

I found myself complaining in my head (and sometimes aloud) about my daily menu, comparing what I can eat to what my family and friends eat. It just didn’t seem fair.

Then I realized I sounded like the Israelites. God rescued them from slavery to the Egyptians, guided them safely across the Red Sea, and traveled with them day and night, yet they complained about what they did not have in the wilderness. I reached for my Bible and looked up Bible verses about God providing manna for the Israelites. Although I was familiar with the basics, a review of the details struck a chord with my current situation:

  • The Israelites grumbled against the Lord and wished they were back in slavery because the food was better (Exodus 16:3 ESV)

  • God provided a solution that sustained their bodies in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4-5)

  • The Israelites ate manna for 40 years until they “came to a habitable land” (Exodus 16:35)

Wow. How I resonate with the Israelites. When I compare myself to others (or even to myself just a few years ago), I wish I was in a different situation. However, when I focus on the love of God and His provision in my life (loving family, food I can eat however limited, medical tests and treatment), my frustration morphs into faith. God continues to provide. Even if I must eat these same foods for 40 more years, my body will be nourished, and I can enjoy each day with my family, doing the work He has set in front of me for each season.

If you are faced with a limited list of foods your body tolerates due to food sensitivities, autoimmune disease, or any other limiting conditions, be encouraged. We can reach out to God - cry out to Him. He hears us. He may not intervene and change our situation, but He can comfort us and change our hearts and attitudes. May we trust in His faithfulness to provide what we need when we need it.

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