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COVER STORY: Dr. Carrie Carter - What Happens when the Doctor Becomes Ill?
5 Things You Should Know About Chronic Illness on the Job
Is it Safe to Buy Medication Online?
The Process Road
Lessons from the River
Is a Cruise for You?
The Lord Will Go Before You
You Hurt My Feelings!
What's in Your Handbag?
Effective Spring Cleaning with a Chronic Illness
But You Look So Good!
Talk Over Tea with the Editor
Tell Us Your Thoughts
Strive to Thrive Health News
Joy Bites
Strength in the Shadows
Volunteer Corner
Book Review: Spiritual Sunlight for the Weary
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Less than a month ago I was waiting for test results to shed some light on the pain and numbness I had been feeling. When Jeff asked if I wanted to go canoeing with him and three guys from church, I started to decline; I was beginning to withdraw from friends. It was easier for me to stay home; canoeing and camping would make me dependent on them. But with their reassurances and encouragement from my wife, I decided to go along.

By evening of the third day, I start to "get it." As we paddled in two days ago, I felt strangely at peace, no longer worried about my limitations. With each stroke I was soon quietly singing each line from the Doxology:

"Praise God from who all blessings flow (splash), Praise Him all creatures here below (splash) Praise Him above ye heavenly host, (splash) Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (splash)"

Reflecting on the long list of blessings that God has given me I feel humbled, but also loved. I am as sure of His presence and goodness as the water laps on the rocks.

I've noticed joy starting to seep out in what I'm saying and doing. Each meal has become a celebration of God's provision, and as Casey noted, it now isn't complete until I have declared it "the best camp meal I've ever had." Chores are opportunities to serve my brothers in Christ; in the cold morning when I'm moving slowly, to accept their service with joy and humility. Conversation is a blessing and a comfort. None of this would have happened had my friends accepted my initial refusal to come along.

I have finally been able to express this lesson to my friends: God indeed loves me. I know He is good, He is powerful, and He could heal me. Echoing Shadrach's words before being thrown into Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace, "…and if not…" (see Daniel 3:16-18). If it doesn't happen, I will still praise Him. For I see the extent to which He has already healed me: through His Son, He has healed my heart, my mind, and my soul. Even on a simple camping trip, He is still healing me. I praise Him for what He has done already, and as I've learned these last few days, I will gratefully accept each day as a gift from His loving hands. "Praise God from whom all blessings flow…"

Matthew Atkinson lives in Cottage Grove, MN with his wife Elspeth and two girls. He works, volunteers with his church's children's ministry, and is a Lay Counselor in his Congregational Care Ministry.


This article was featured in our March/April 2004 issue.
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