Dec 27, 2015
Last week I read Wayne Grudem’s powerful article “I Have Parkinson’s and I Am at Peace.”
As I read his story I did feel sorrow about his diagnosis.
But I was also encouraged by his steadfast trust in Christ, and the many Scriptures he mentioned.
Full of Fear
But later that morning I found myself thinking about Parkinson’s disease.
I wondered what the symptoms were, and what the prognosis was.
Then I started wondering if I would ever get Parkinson’s. And that wondering grew into fear — fear of how Parkinson’s might affect me, and what this could mean for my wife and my work.
What to Do?
God tells us that fear is caused by unbelief —
- Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Which means my trust wasn’t in God.)
- Psalm 56:11 “… in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.” (Because trust overcomes fear.)
- Psalm 112:7 “He is not afraid … his heart is … trusting in the LORD. (He is not afraid because of his trust in the Lord.)
- Isaiah 12:2 “I will trust, and not be afraid.” (Notice the cause-effect relationship.)
- Matthew 8:26 “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” (The cause of their fear is lack of faith.)
So my fear about Parkinson’s was caused by my lack of faith — I was not trusting all that God promises to be to me in Christ Jesus.
So in order to obey God, and overcome my fear, I needed to strengthen my faith.
But how do I do that?
Where Faith Comes From
Paul says “faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
And since faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), it can also help to pray and ask God for more faith (Mark 9:24; Ephesians 3:16-17).
So the way to strengthen faith is by earnest prayer and meditation on God’s Word.
So first, I prayed. I confessed my sin of unbelief, asked God to forgive me through Christ’s finished work on the Cross, and was assured of complete forgiveness.
Then I asked God to use his word to strengthen my faith, and I thought of Psalm 119:71 —
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
As I prayed over that verse — God strengthened my faith so I knew that if God gave me Parkinson’s, he would use it to bless me with the great good of learning his statutes.
Why Is That so Good?
But what is so good about learning God’s statutes? The answer is in Psalm 119:135 —
Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.
For God to shine his face upon us means he enables us to see and feel his all-satisfying glory (Numbers 6:24-26; Psalm 17:15).
And in Psalm 119:135 we read that for God to teach us his statutes means that he shines his face upon us — enabling us to behold his heart-filling beauty as displayed in his word.
So learning God’s statutes doesn’t just mean learning more information about God and his word.
Learning God’s statutes means we see the truth of God so clearly that we feel the beauty of God in his word — which is the greatest and most satisfying gift we can ever receive.
Freed — and Filled
So as I continued to pray over Psalm 119:71 I saw that if God allowed me to have Parkinson’s, it would be to give me this most wonderful gift of seeing and feeling more of His glory.
Then God reminded me of 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, and through that verse he helped me see and feel the beauty of his mercy, his sovereignty, and his glory.
As a result, my heart was filled with joy in God — and I was freed from fear.
Why? Because I knew that if God allowed me to have Parkinson’s, it would be to give me even more of this joy in God.
And my taste of this joy in God from 1 Corinthians 1 was so satisfying that I knew the joy of beholding God would far surpass the difficulties of Parkinson’s.
- Helping a Friend Battle Fear
- If Bad Things Can Happen, Why Not Worry?
- How Jesus Frees Us from Fear (4-min video)
- Fearful or Worried?