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Our Divine Brother In Our Distress

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More Uncertainty

I had another neurology appointment on Monday. As it stands right now, my neurologist is not sure exactly how to classify my disorder, but thinks we should start considering Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or diseases in the Parkinson’s-Plus family. In it’s early stages, PD is difficult to distinguish from other neurological disorders. This is even more true if one has early onset Parkinson’s (EOPD) because, in EOPD, 50% of the patients never develop the tell-tale Parkinson’s tremor. The good news, is that EOPD progresses at a far slower rate than if a person developed the disorder after 55, as is typically the case. So, as of right now,  my neurologist wants to send me a specialist for a second opinion. This particular doctor specializes in Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s-Plus diseases. My neurologist also mentioned the possibility of a disease called Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) which is a Parkinson’s-Plus disease. However, she said that, while it is possible, she considers the odds very slim. She didn’t want to worry me (MSA is an ugly one) but she did want me to know that she was going to ask the specialist to consider it.  She did say that we should not consider this a diagnosis because many neurological conditions don’t “settle in” to a point of being diagnosable for a while… sometimes up to a couple of years.

Our divine brother in suffering. . .

I have been reading the Psalms of Lament. These are especially meaningful to me when I wake up in the morning and feel the residual pain from the night’s muscle cramps and spasms.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God!

On my lunch, I’ve been spending time in Isaiah. I have also come to appreciate the picture of Christ as the God who identifies with us in our suffering:

Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.

Then, I think of the story of the Passion. I think of Christ’s prayer in the garden and His tears of blood in anticipation of bearing our infirmities and carrying our diseases

Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not my will be done, but your will.

and most of all, I spellbound by Christ’s death cry on the cross

My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?!!

It is here where I come to see Christ as my divine brother in distress (to quote Moltmann). It is here, at His death cry that I know for certain that this is a God who understands me and who knows what it is to suffer.

Immortality!

 It is also here, in Christ’s death cry,  that I find the hope that I need to sustain myself. This is the Christ who carries the sick and the afflicted with Him to resurrection! This is the Christ who, during his life on earth, sought out the disabled and the wretched and healed them- not as a act of power, but as an act of mercy. My Jesus, my divine brother in my distress, is the only God who not only offers eternal life, but also offers a resurrected body! Even more, He does not offer eternal life in some incorporeal heaven, but offers eternal life on this earth in this body with these people whom I love so dearly!

Who is this God who works on behalf of those who wait on Him (Isaiah 64.4)? He is Christ my Lord- the God who does not view our suffering from afar, but rather, condescends Himself to take on human form and participates in our suffering. The God who suffers- our divine brother in distress. Our only hope of resurrection and the only chance we will ever get at immortality. This is my God and I will worship Him!

10 thoughts on “Our Divine Brother In Our Distress

  1. Ryan

    Thanks for the update Aaron. We are praying for you. I admire your faith. I have a lot to learn from you.

  2. That part about living forever on earth sounds an awful lot like Jehovah’s Witness. Still, I think you have a better understanding of it then they ever did. You have a genuine hope. I want that hope. I wish I could have that kind of confidence in god. Hang in there.

  3. I really wish I knew how to write better. Maybe u can help me! Anywayz, I am wondering a few things. The first is what happened to the cool music? Other that that and more seriously, when u say that you can relate to christ (is christ the same as jesus?) because he said that god forsakened him, are you feeling like god forsakened you? Also what do you mean about living 4ever on this earth in this body? Don’t ppl go to heaven and just sit there in a place with nothing but clouds? Or wont we just be like ghosts or something? I’ve never heard about living on earth in my own body. Also what happened in UR eeg? I hope u don’t have that MSA thing cause it sounds scary!

  4. Ryan, Anthropolis, Serena:

    Thanks for your prayers and friendship. For the sake of efficiency, I’ll try to answer your questions here in one comment.

    Anthropolis/Serena- Yes, the Bible has a lot to say about heaven and it isn’t what you typically see portrayed in the modern arts. There are many views on how the whole thing will play out, but in the end, all of the views have us back here on earth (Revelation 21)in a glorified version of our current bodies. In his book Resurrection, Hank Hanegraff does a great job explaining that there will be a one-to-one correspondence between the body that dies and the body that is raised at the resurrection. This means that our new bodies will be made of the same DNA that we have now, only without corruption. So our bodies will flourish to their full potential. For instance, a person born with poor vision will have full and complete vision at the resurrection. This is one of the most neglected of biblical doctrines, yet it is the one that has given me the most hope.

    Serena- music: It was taking too much bandwidth at work from people reading it. I was discretely asked to remove it.

    Christ is the English translation of the Greek word Χριστός (Christós), or the anointed one. . . which is itself the Greek translation for the Hebrew word mashiyakh (משיח)or Messiah. The Messiah is one whom the Old Testament prophets spoke of and, as Christians, we believe this to be Jesus. So Jesus=Christ=Messiah. I typically use the word Jesus when speaking of the historical person and the word Christ when speaking of his work on behalf of us. However, they can be used interchangeabley. To me, Christ emphasises his mission and his works while Jesus emphasises His person. But that’s just my preference.

    The question of Jesus’s forsakenness is a good one. I have nor felt forsaken by God. In fact, if anything, I have felt His presence more now than every before. However, I take a great amount of comfort in knowing that Jesus felt forsaken because it means that Jesus not only identified with us in His physical suffering, but also in his emotional and mental anguish. When he condescended down to us, he didn’t hold anything back. He jumped in with everything he had and chose to experience every aspect of human suffering that we experience- including emotional anguish.

    My EEG came back normal- my body is not experiencing any seizures.

    Anthropolis, I want to have lunch with you sometime soon. This hope that I have is freely available to you but it requires a huge sacrifice and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I know that you will understand this some day because I know that you are seeking truth. For starters though, I think we should just get together and I will share my hope with you. Besides, it’s been a long time since we’ve had lunch together!

  5. Yes lets have lunch. Soon. Something cheap. I’m broke again. Maybe coffee. That place by your work.

  6. Natya

    Dear sir Teleia, I think you are man of quality faith and yes you having helped me too in knowing our dear savior who suffers as much in place of we his children so much so as reading your insights have helping me to grow in faith with my own affliction. having ALS in my body at a young year. I am not knowing why your doctor having said MSA when it so hard to diagnose. one of the difficult to identify. I will pray for you that you know our savior in your pain and too pray for mine.

  7. Natya,

    Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time and energy to comment. In some ways I envy you. You will soon be in the presence of the eternal glory of God! Your pain will cease and you will understand far better than the rest of us the hope of our resurrection! Only, you will no longer have to hope because you will have the real presence of Christ. You will see the Lamb face to face and will be able to embrace the healing arms of infinite love and mercy.

    I wish that I could do something to ease your physical pain but I cannot do that- all I have to offer are exhortations. So continue to fight the good fight during the time you have left- finish the course! Keep the faith!

    Please stop by here as your energy permits and keep me updated on how you are doing. I would love to hear your story if you have the energy. How far along are you in your ALS progression?

    I will pray for you every time I think of you. I will pray that as you partake in the sufferings of Christ, you will be comforted by our divine brother in our distress, for we serve a God who sympathizes with us in our weakness/infirmities.

  8. Natya

    Dear Sir Teleia, my soul thanking you for reply. My story is at beginning two years past being 22 years of birth where I heard my sickness. My lips not speaking as should and I know then body not well. I living Minsk Belarus. Workers from America come to pray and heal for us. They love my people and love god as they show when live with us. Having no money to pay medical they sell car to help. I tell them no as being dead of five years maybe three years but not listen and sell car for medical. They show me bible and I met Christ same day. They tell me of heaven and new body but I not hear it. only my sins being clean I hear and nothing else I cared to me. Only when read teleia diary to understand hope of new body! I ask my American sister in Christ if true and we cry together. My ALS attack fast my breath and Americans tell of my meeting my sweet Jesus soon. We read diary together and cry of joy in my resurrection. Dear brother Teleia you say of only you exhort but do not know diary inspire soul! In Belarus we suffer many days. No leader has words as you in Belarus! We suffer Chernobyl greatly and never in ears hear God suffer with us! Belarusian need to know God suffer our pain! Only God send words of Teleia to Belarus. Belarusian soul desire leader to stir heart! I send diary to many Belarusian and reading weep with body. I go rest now with hope of new diary soon. My sould pray for you and family.

  9. Natya,

    I was overwhelmed with adoration for our God when I read your testimony. It is not my words, but the Holy Spirit that is stirring your heart and giving you new hope! It is not only the Spirit, but indeed it is Christ in you who is providing that hope of glory (Col 1.27)! To God and God alone be the glory!

    You are in an exciting moment in your life right now Natya… not unlike the Israelites were in Joshua 3. The promised land is looming on the horizon, but first you must cross the Jordan River. I imagine that must be a little scary but remember the miracle that God performed in Joshua 3. It was God who went before them and cleared the way. But this time we do not face a battle on the other side- our battle was fought and won in Christ’s death cry on the cross!

    Please continue to keep me informed on how you are feeling. I am praying for you.

  10. Ryan

    Natya, I’m also praying for you. Your story is a great example of How God delivers us. I am amazed at how God works through people who are suffering.

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