>> Saturday, March 31, 2012

She struggled to keep her composure … tears leaking from her eyes. My heart broke as I listened to her words. A vibrant young lady … supportive husband … two small boys … and she had been given a diagnosis of a disease with no specific treatment.  

A life sentence.  

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. As she talked, my mind’s eye could see the pictures I had seen of people with frozen faces … unbending fingers … and thinning hair. Has she seen those pictures?  

Some of the complications are life-threatening … cancer … heart failure … high blood pressure in the lungs … kidney failure … and colon issues. Her diagnosis was recent … and she was still processing the news. As her emotions ran rampant, her face displayed fear … briefly anger … gratitude it wasn’t her children … and then fear again.  

What I had to offer was a listening ear … hugs … and the promise of prayers.  

And so she goes through my days with me. Each time she comes to mind, I shoot a prayer her way. This is a journey I can’t take for her. No one can.  

As I thought about the progress of the disease … the hardening of the skin … and possibly organs … my mind turned to some Christians I’ve known. My diagnosis would be they had spiritual scleroderma. Their faces do not radiate joy, but are frozen in a scowl. But the most threatening complication of spiritual scleroderma is the hardening of their heart.  

But that’s not a life sentence. I know a great Physician who can soften a hard heart.

“They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” Ephesians 4:18 (TNIV)


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