Suicide, according to Akhil: “to end a long ordeal”.
I asked those questions last week on my blog because I was contemplating how to end my long ordeal. Of course I’m talking about ALS.
Because of my thoughts, I wanted to hear answers to three important questions:
1. Is there a God?
2. Is Jesus my Lord and Savior? (Does he really love me?)
3. Is there any reason to stay here? (Can I check out early?)
I got some interesting answers from lots of people. I was actually amazed how many people responded. I was most amazed by God’s response!
Yes, God responded to my questions.
He knew I needed encouragement. It came in the form of two people: Tim and Phil.
I have known Tim since I was sixteen. We used to play Dungeons and Dragons together. (Don’t judge me!) We also had the most insane friends and we did all sorts of things that would be considered priceless by the producers of "Jackass"! Nonetheless, we survived and are friends today.
Tim lives in California, near LA, and does graphic design.
He came to visit me on Tuesday of last week. We reminisced over old times and laughed a lot. That was encouraging, but that was not the answer from God.
The answer from God came as Tim was leaving. I was in the middle of being fed through my tube and I looked over at Tim and said, “I am sorry you have to see me this way.” Tim responded: “I don’t see anything. All I see is my friend, someone with whom I have a long history!”
I was imagining how people saw me: sick, helpless, useless.
Through Tim I saw how God saw me: Akhil.
Chalk one up for God!
Phil Camden is someone I don’t know. He’s from Australia right outside of Sydney and was the senior pastor of Hillsong Church.
If you know the music of Hillsong, you know it is very impactful. Last year two things happened to Phil. First, he was diagnosed with ALS and second, he found my blog.
He commented on my blog and we stayed in touch over the internet. Last week, he had an occasion to meet with a relative in Portland! He contacted us and asked to come visit. On Saturday he came over to my house. We talked and I asked him if he ever thought about an early checkout.
The answer from God came through Phil who said, “I want to keep ministering to the people as long as I have breath. Although I have stepped down as senior pastor and I have retired, I still have opportunities to help other people find their way.”
He continued, “You also have an opportunity to help others.” I was surprised and asked him what he was talking about. I told him I can’t move and I can barely talk.
He told me that my blog was the vehicle. He said that although people don’t always comment, I am changing hearts all over the world. He finished by saying, “Even if no one else reads it, I do! Keep writing for me.”
In summary: I still have purpose, as long as God has me here, I still can contribute.
So there you have it. God does exist, he sent his son for me (and you), and I need to stick around to see how this movie ends.
TO BE CONTINUED…