A friend asked me this week how my faith affects how I deal with diabetes. It seemed like a question I should have thought about a lot, but it turns out that I haven't. I have thought lot about what I am learning about God and my relationship with Him due to the daily unpredictability of diabetes, and so how diabetes affects my faith. But turn that question around - how does my faith inform my thinking and dealing with diabetes? - and I was stumped.
So, this is my attempt to work that out. We are studying 1 Peter in the Tuesday women's Bible studies. Peter talks a lot about suffering and how our hope in Christ is the key to holding on to our faith while we suffer. He emphasizes the precious nature of our salvation too, to underscore that holding on to faith is worth the trouble. There is also that troubling verse: In this, (the living hope that is being kept in heaven for us), you rejoice, though now or a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7
Two things strike me from these verses that relate to how my faith affects my life with diabetes. First, if necessary. God has deemed it necessary that I deal with this. I trust in the sovereignty of God as well as in the perfect goodness of God. That means that I believe type 1 diabetes was no surprise to Him, and that He has a good purpose for me in it. And that good purpose is the second point: The goal of my having diabetes is that the tested genuineness of my faith will result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus returns.
This goal then informs how I cope with crazy roller coaster blood sugars, or the emotional roller coaster that goes along with that, or the exhaustion or burn-out or frustration of not knowing why my body is acting the way it is. It is more important that I honor Christ in all of this than whether my management of diabetes is perfect (which it NEVER will be).
The other thing that 1 Peter is teaching me is that in order to honor Christ, I need to start by 'girding up the loins of my mind' (the more literal translation of 1:13). Controlling my feelings and my actions begins with a mind that is turned toward Christ. I need HIM to steer me away from self-pity and toward meditating on His suffering on my behalf. I need Christ to show me that there is glory in suffering, in sharing a tiny bit in what He suffered. I need Christ to help me persevere when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and just quit trying to manage a disease that does not want to be managed.
Having faith in that Christ means that I have hope. Hope that I am never alone in my walk in this world. Hope that He is always faithful to give me what I need when I need it. Hope that He is faithful to forgive when I need it, and to restore me to Himself so that I can move on. Hope in Christ is not just for heaven. It is for this moment, for every time I feel like a failure and that I will never get it right.
Hope in Christ. That is how faith affects my life, not just in dealing with diabetes, but in every part of it. It is just more obvious that I need that hope to cope with the ups and downs of diabetes. Maybe that's why it is necessary that I am being grieved by this particular trial...........
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