Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A Gift of Grace

You “churchy types” have no doubt heard the common religious definition of GRACE.  It is said to be “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense,” that is, undeserved divine forgiveness because of Jesus’ suffering for us. That’s a good definition for our spiritual well-being but this past month I’ve learned that grace can extend beyond the realm of the spirit.

I’ve discovered a new definition for that commonly used word.  GRACE has expanded to also mean unexpectedly “Getting Relief After Confusing Events.”  Let me explain.

It was about a month ago - early February - that I last saw the lung doctor.  I knew I was in bad shape and he confirmed that.  Breathing was difficult leaving me with no energy.  I had become a permanent occupant of wheelchair, recliner or bed, unable to walk even short distances around our house.  I was coughing a lot but with no signs of any infection.  He ordered a course of steroids and antibiotics and again reminded me that pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive and terminal disease.  His nurse practitioner had already discussed palliative and hospice care with me.  So I went home in bad shape emotionally as well as physically!

Then Bruce and I remembered something important.  One week before this sudden increase of symptoms I had been well enough to receive my second immunotherapy infusion.  I had developed similar - but milder -  symptoms  after my first infusion in December!  We wondered if there was a connection.

That’s when the gift of Grace kicked in physically.  Surprisingly, the more time that passed after that second immunotherapy infusion, the better I felt!  I was “Getting Relief After Confusing Events.”  Little by little I got more strength, my oxygen needs decreased slowly, and the coughing became less frequent.  Within ten days I was strong enough to walk from the living room to the bedroom, and the wheelchair was again retired to the garage!

Grace is, indeed, one of God’s most precious spiritual gifts, freeing us from burdens of sin and the guilt we so often heap upon ourselves.  I am now rejoicing in the recent revelation to me that the gift of grace can also free body and mind from burdens of illness!

MarySue Helstern Rosenberger