Any diagnosis turns into a crash course on that particular condition. You find yourself becoming an expert on something you never even wanted to know existed. Here are 2 of the “accelerated classes” I am unwillingly taking in the early stages of my son’s Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy:
1. DMD is a thief.
It robs you of your muscles.
It robs you of time.
It robs you of opportunities.
The medicine that mitigates it robs you of your personality.
2. Progression = Regression
Looking back at older pictures of our kids generates opposite responses.
“Remember when she had such a hard time climbing that?”
“Remember when it was so much easier from him to climb that?”
Looking back carries a sting as it reminds you of what has been stolen.
In the midst this, though, I hear the faint whisper of Jesus reminding me, “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). A promise and a reality that is true for me, my wife, my daughter, and my son.
So, there are more important lessons to be learned in this school.
I want to learn how to live more in, and appreciate, this moment right now. There will never be another one just like it. Each moment feels a little more precious. More significant. It should always feel this way, but sadly it often takes a stark reminder of how little time we—or the ones we so dearly love—actually have in order to take Scripture seriously when it urges us to make the best use of our time (Colossians 4:5).
I want to learn to reflect more on the past…looking to all the extraordinary examples in Scripture and throughout history, of men and women who walked even more difficult paths faithfully and joyfully. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…(Hebrews 12:1–2)
I want to learn to reflect more on the future, and the fact that these light momentary afflictions are “preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17), anxiously awaiting “a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself (Philippians 3:20–21).
There is a lot of learning ahead of us. There is still quite a bit that we don’t even know that we don’t know. What we do know is that we are not alone, and that even thieves can find themselves declaring the glory and goodness of Jesus (Matthew 27:28; Luke 23:39-43).