Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why so long?

Though he slay me, yet I will have hope in Him. Job 13:15

Dear YL Capernaum Friends –

I am writing very personally to you today about a major breakthrough in my life. My motivation is to encourage any of you who have/are laboring and suffering under a long-term problem or challenge in which God seems silent. I pray God uses this to speak to you in a present or future circumstance.

For 5 or 6 years I have been suffering under extreme fatigue that stepped up greatly around August 2008 and then increased this past September. As it progressed, I did everything possible. I saw my doctor and cleared off any problems. I began exercising and making sure I got lots of rest. All to no avail. I prayed fervently and had others pray for me, but no change.

In the midst of this I searched my heart for answers and inquired of the Lord, nothing. I began to feel literally that God had abandoned me. I had a lot of self-doubt. I asked myself, was I not handling stress well? Was it a natural progression of aging? Do I have something seriously wrong with me? For someone who has always been high energy this was overwhelming and agonizing. My life has been so full these past few years. I had a growing family, YL Capernaum was dramatically growing, travel was increasing, coaching little league and volunteering and leading various clubs. I would pray to God each day for the ability to rise to each occasion. I think for the most part no one could see much difference in me because I sought to keep it from interfering with what God has called me to do. But underneath it all I was deeply discouraged. I leaned on God and sought to be faithful no matter the cost. Yet I continued to live in the darkness of God’s silence.

In September I was invited to go to India with my dear friend Clif Davidson for a Young Life trip. I was so excited, but as preparation began I noticed my fatigue was deepening. In desperation I went back to my doctor, wondering how I could possibly make this trip. She examined me and everything was fine. She sat in her chair tapping her pen on her prescription pad and suddenly asked, “Do you snore?” “Yes”, I said. I’ve been told that a lot by my roommates at Young Life conferences. She told me to go to a sleep clinic. I was relieved because I have been having problems sleeping.

A wonderful doctor from Stanford named Kim Mae Yuen interviewed me for an hour. When she examined me she sighed, “Oh my goodness.” I nervously asked, “What?” She said, “You have severe sleep apnea. I don’t even need the sleep study to evaluate you, your airway is about a third of what it should be.” The sleep study showed that I ceased breathing 54 times an hour with durations of 19 seconds to a minute of no air. If I was on my back it was 78 times. This significantly raised my risk of heart attack or stroke. The doctors I saw were wonderful. They gave me a CPAP machine that assisted in my breathing while I slept. Last night I had my first full nights sleep in more than 5 years.

As I have met and sat with Jesus my heart poured out to Him. I asked Him, “Why so long?” The answer to that question came from my wonderfully encouraging friend Jen. She told me that God has enlarged your belief by relying on Him and she was right. What is amazing to me is that I was able to do all I did the past 5 or 6 years without any sleep. Through immense suffering God was faithful to sustain me and even use me. It also feels like God on His own kept me alive. I have gained a new sense of love, admiration and care for our YL Capernaum friends and all they go through physically. It makes me more compassionate and understanding. Also Sue, my wife, is my biggest hero. She has patiently travelled this road with me like no one else. She has watched me suffer, listened to my cries, prayed for, comforted and encouraged me, and so have my children.

Ultimately God has been faithful and in a moments time through 3 wonderful doctors gave me a breakthrough. It will take time but I know the Lord is healing me. I don’t know what challenge or impossible obstacle you are going through but my encouragement is:

• Stay faithful to God
• Pour your heart out to Him
• Pour your heart out to a small circle of friends, let them carry you
• Enlist others prayers
• Wait on God and believe
• Remember, He is faithful

In 2010 I believe your breakthrough is coming! I am praying for you!

1 comment:

  1. I was diagnosed with Sleep apnea when I was 19. It really can take you out especially if you have had it for years! Praise God for you encouragement Nick. My wife, Jess, I know will be encouraged by this. Thanks