In my devotional titled “Giving Back,” I mention a dark period in my life without giving too many details. Let me share with you the whole story.
I was 25 and had graduated from college with a degree in mathematics. It should have been an exciting time for me. Instead, I got hit with one adversity after another.
As I was finishing up my last college classes, I began to feel ill. Thankfully, I only felt the brunt of it after my finals were over. I went to the doctor many times with symptoms that just wouldn’t go away: sore throat, fever, breathlessness, rash, and swollen feet and tongue. My doctors switched my medications countless times, but my symptoms only got worse. My doctors eventually discovered I was experiencing a severe allergic reaction to a medication I had been taking.
It took months for me to recover, and I felt debilitating fatigue for quite some time. Soon another symptom emerged: cracked, dry, puffy, and sometimes bleeding patches on my skin, especially on my hands and face. I went to five different dermatologists, but they couldn’t tell me what was wrong. The creams they prescribed didn’t work, and the only medication that brought any relief was over-the-counter cortisone cream.
As my fatigue slowly improved, I applied to a variety of job positions. However, I received one rejection letter after another. This damaged my self-esteem and disappointed my parents, who were anxious for me to become financially independent. I knew I needed to gain more skills and experience to qualify for the job positions that interested me. Thankfully, my parents supported me as I attended night classes to learn a variety of computer programming languages.
But then I was hit with more physical adversity—I found out I was facing another eye surgery. I have suffered from a variety of eye diseases since childhood. I always tell people it is a miracle I can see—and it’s true. From the ages of 10 to 27 I had an eye surgery every couple of years, on average. This time the doctor couldn’t even guarantee that the surgery would work.
This brought me to the New Year’s Eve that I mentioned in my devotional. It had been one long, agonizing year. I wept over all I had suffered; I laid before God all my anxieties and fears. It felt good to pray, to lay myself bare and vulnerable before God. I know God heard my prayers and saw my broken heart.
Six weeks after my eye surgery, my doctor declared that the surgery was a success! Then my mysterious skin problems disappeared. To this day I have no idea what caused them or what made them disappear. And my struggle to gain employment ended when I was given an offer to work for a large company as a software engineer. Within three months of starting that job, I was able to move out of my parents’ home. With my health and financial independence secured, my heart overflowed with thankfulness! I wanted to show my gratitude by giving back to God.
I believe God counted all my tears and turned my sorrows into joy. If you are feeling broken or overwhelmed, lay your worries before God who loves you. God will not forsake any of us!
The Upper Room lifts the spirits of residents I serve as a correctional chaplain. Christians and non-Christians read the devotions, reminding them of an alternative path to a loving God that will walk alongside them through the good and ugly of life.”
The Upper Room Chaplains’ Ministry provides military, VA hospital, and prison chaplains copies of the daily devotional for their ministry. Give today to support the Chaplains’ Ministry.