This year marks my 30th year of living with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Last week, when I went for my regular diabetes appointment, I reminded my diabetes specialist of this and we both took some time to take it in. Thirty years earlier when I had first been diagnosed, she had been brutally honest with me, telling me that whether I’d even make 10 years would depend on how well controlled my condition was. Fast forward 30 years, she congratulated me for reaching this milestone and we both gave audible thanks to God for His amazing grace. I think it was a wonderful testimony to the Clinic Assistant who heard it all.
This milestone also had two spiritual lessons for me.
God meant it for my good
When I was first diagnosed in 1992, life changed overnight. I had to daily balance my insulin shots against food intake and the amount of physical activity. There was no choice: poor control with high blood sugar levels would lead to organ damage, but too low a level and I’d become comatose. I often say that half my brain has become my pancreas; there is not a waking hour that goes by that I am not thinking about my blood sugar levels. On a lighter note, my family remind me often that my favourite question is – “Is it sweet?”
The initial years were filled with thoughts of “why me”, the intervening years with “why not me”, and these recent years with “You did this for me – thank you”. With every year that passes, I am convinced more and more that He knew what I needed, and I now shudder to think where I’d be otherwise. As the words in the song ‘Were it not for grace’ go, I’d be “going down some pointless road to nowhere”.
My condition has kept me grounded and acknowledging Him for all things. In the book of Judges, we are told that God had reduced Gideon’s army before battle, so that Israel could not boast that “My own hand has saved me.” (Judges 7:2 ESV). Likewise, all that I am and ever hope to be, I owe it all to him.
Ultimately, God gave me what was for my best. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV).
Grace for every day, but by the day
I did some back-of-envelope calculations and over the 30 years, I have had approximately 43,000 insulin injections, 35,000 finger pricks for blood sampling and 150 visits to the same Specialist Clinic. If I had known at the very start that I would have had to go through all this, I would have lost my nerve. Which is why God tells us, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt 6:34 ESV). From the start of my journey, I could only take each day as it came. God truly gives us grace for every day, yet it is given in daily portions only.
Dear brothers and sisters, many of you would have challenges far greater than mine, but take heart from this piece of scripture which I am reminded of every day that I come in to work (because it is pasted on the office wall): “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9 ESV).
by brother David Loh