Sometimes we’re called to do hard things. Other times, we’re picked up by the leg and tossed head-first into them.
Two years ago I never suspected the events that were about to pounce on me. I was the most popular kid at church, the leader of my youth group, and a straight-A student. If you had asked, I would have said that I was a Christian and loved God. It would not have been a lie.
But deep in my heart I had unsurrendered dreams, fears, and questions… things that whispered and scurried in the dark corners of my mind.
Meeting my Enemy
Enter the Hulk.
I began to show the first symptom, hypoglycemia, in autumn of 2014. Time passed and more symptoms began to materialize and escalate in intensity. I would lose all my strength and collapse. I would develop heart palpitations, chest pain, and muscular pain. I spent about a month on my bed and couch.
Friends melted away, including my best friend that I had grown up with. For the next year, I darted and bounced between doctors like a pinball. Most of them said I was crazy. The mental counselor said I wasn’t. It was the worst year of my life.
Finally in early 2016, I was diagnosed with a form of adrenal insufficiency. My Hulk now had a name.
Why do I call this sickness “my Hulk”? Because adrenal insufficiency mainly affects your hormones, so it plays lots of tricks on your brain.
My Hulk takes all my negative feelings and magnifies them by 100. A sad moment becomes cripplingly depressing. An annoyance transforms into a rage that makes me want to smash through walls and injure people (I never have, by the way). My Hulk snatches all my fears and desires and makes them terrifyingly 4-D nightmares.
In other words, all those timid little dreams, fears, and questions from the alleyways of my mind have grown up now. And they’re taking over town.
Like Bruce Banner, I wrestle with my inner Hulk and try to keep it together. But often I am forced to hide away in order to keep myself and those around me safe from my violent emotions.
Facing the Hulk
Earlier I said that sometimes we’re thrown into hard things. But what we do in them proves whether we are warriors or cowards. I tried to ignore the things recently brought into the light by the Hulk. It didn’t work.
But then I turned to Jesus, and let Him pick up the pieces of my broken life. He reminded me that He had already overcome my fears. He picked up my shattered dreams and gave me glorious new ones. He helped me learn to trust Him with the big questions of life.
So I had to make a choice: would I let the Hulk define me and keep me down? Or would I use his ugly green self as a springboard to higher ground?
By God’s grace, I vouched for the springboard to higher ground.
It hasn’t been easy. The Hulk is still there, and will be for a while according to the doctors. Sometimes I give in to the Hulk’s taunting and believe his lies. But Jesus is always there to remind me that, step by step, I am a conqueror in Him.
So maybe that’s what I want to say with all this… our hardships are actually “power moments”. You will find Jesus like never before. You will find yourself doing things you never imagined you could do.
Nowadays I am well on my way to recovery. But from this experience, I have acquired a pocketful of jewels that will aid me in life. Even today, I am discovering new ones along my path.
And all I can say is,
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” (Psalm 30:11,12 NASB)