I have seen many people comment about hating cystic fibrosis. CF is personified as the enemy and the accusing finger is pointed. We are angry with it and we hate it. We wish to stamp it out forever. I think it’s natural to look for something to blame in the face of adversity. We need somewhere to go with our anger and frustration. Maybe a part of us feels that if blame can be assigned, and someone is responsible, than bad things are preventable.
Certainly these feelings of rage towards cystic fibrosis are not unfounded. Cystic fibrosis is an awful disease. It causes bodies to have great difficulty functioning. It causes pain and suffering. It threatens survival. It steals years of life, health, and the very breath we breathe. It separates families. It took my sister’s life at 35. I now struggle with the effects of this disease every single day of my life and they are not pleasant. I have felt that anger. I have felt bound by CF. There are plenty of times that I. Want. Out. I assume my life would be so much better without it.
But when I hear people say they hate CF, or when the thought crosses my mind, there is a part of me that feels uneasy. These comments have almost felt personal at times. It may be partially because I don’t like aggressive, angry words. But there is more to it. Although cystic fibrosis does not define me, it is just as much a part of me as my blond(ish) hair, or my blue eyes, or my blood type. It is written in my very DNA. There is no version of me that could exist without it.
Psalm 139 verses 13-16 say this:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
God created me and made my body wonderful, cystic fibrosis and all. I believe that the presence of diseases like cystic fibrosis are a deviation from God’s perfect creation: that they are a result of the powerful presence of evil in the world. They are certainly not what God intended. So I don’t mean to suggest that God glories in the ugliness and devastation of this disease. But He does glory in bringing love, life, strength and renewal out of pain and struggle. God brings beauty out of ashes.
And so from the time I was born, God began the wonderful work of redeeming this cystic fibrosis, yes, this disease, this hardship in my life, to be not a despised part of who I am, but an instrument of good in my life. I have learned many lessons from this disease–lessons that have increased my faith, deepened my character, strengthened my relationships, given me perspective on what’s important, and put me in a place to be able to reach out to others. CF has been a great burden, but also a great blessing.
So do I hate CF? No. Yes. I don’t know…maybe. I sure feel that way sometimes. I hate the destruction and suffering that it brings. But I am eternally grateful that in the hands of my Savior, this horrible disease can be transformed into a pathway for blessing. I’m not certain my life would be better without it.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.