Adversity is Blessing
I was in high school (around 14 years old) when I started participating in my church’s worship ministry — leading worship, playing the piano, and the bass guitar. I joined jnX over ten years ago, and have been one of the main vocalists as well as one of the bass guitarists. I have also been involved with several recording projects, and sang the lead vocals to “Rivers in the Desert” and “Stepping Out From My Comfort”.
In the summer of 2014, I began to notice that I was feeling a bit “off”, specifically when it came to my speech and hearing. Towards the end of that year, my work (I was a teacher) also began to be affected. I had trouble speaking clearly, so I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called “Myasthenia Gravis”.
Myasthenia Gravis is a disease that affects the muscles. Many of the things that we do, day in and day out, without thinking, I have a tough time doing, or I can’t even do them at all. For example, I don’t have the arm strength to brush my teeth. Most people can easily slip their feet into their shoes, but I need to use my arms to lift my leg so I can put my foot into each shoe. I choke very easily when I drink water. Because of the difficulty in swallowing, taking medication is a major challenge. And when I can’t take my medication, my condition worsens, which makes it even harder for me to swallow [my pills]. I have a lot of trouble eating, which is causing me to lose weight. I also used to love conversing with people. But because I can’t properly smile, I would feel so embarrassed, and sometimes people even wonder “Is Helen upset?”
If you ask me how I face my adversities, I’ll tell you that it has made me examine how deeply I know God. A lot of times, I still ask God “Why?” — why would You take away the thing I love doing the most? My passion is to sing, to praise You, to worship You… Why… Why can’t I keep doing this as I have before?
Recently, a friend shared with me that, in John, chapter 9, the disciples also asked Jesus “Why?”. “Why was this man born blind?” But Jesus’ response wasn’t to address our “Whys”. His response to the disciples points to how God can use circumstances to bring glory to Himself.
When I studied this passage again, I was inspired and encouraged. Although I really wanted to know “why” — I even felt that God owed me an explanation, but… in the end, it really doesn’t matter whether I know “why” because I know for certain that God can use me somehow to bring glory to Himself.
Because I can’t sing for the time being, I currently am unable to serve in my church’s worship team, but this doesn’t mean that I can’t serve God and serve my brothers and sisters. I actually have always enjoyed talking, but now I can’t really speak… I thank God, though, for allowing me to serve through text. I am involved with translations for jnX. Also, I am really thankful for the opportunities to encourage others via email or text messages. Sometimes, because of my medication, I will have trouble sleeping. What is there to do when I can’t sleep in the middle of the night? I remember the people I need to pray for. These may seem to be insignificant things, but I thank God for these opportunities, for using a broken person like me to be a source of encouragement for others.
The lesson that I have been learning in the past four years is this: I can actually choose how to face my adversities. I can tell you now, I am seeing my adversities as though I knew the real ending to the story. Through my illness, I can honestly see how God has shown me mercy, and how He loves and cares for a sinner like me.
(The day after recording this video, we received the following voice message from Helen:)
When I woke up this morning, I thought to myself, my understanding of God and who He is has undergone such a big change. If, through my adverse circumstances, I can come to know God and to love Him more, sharing my experiences is also a wonderful way to remind myself and to encourage myself. When I share, I am proclaiming what I believe. So, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share.
jnX US team member
September 10, 2018