vivek jones

Kingdom Wisdom

Epilepsy and backflips??

JM leapt from the hospital bed ready to go home. His energy shook the room at the hint that he wouldn’t have to stay under supervised treatment for another minute. No more torturous syringes thrust into his skin daily. No more MRI scan, ECG scan, sonography, I.V. drip. We marveled and clapped our hands! Our relief had no words.

Yeah! I know this dude looks like me :-)

Yeah! I know this dude looks like me!!

He was prescribed certain drugs to correct the electrical imbalances in his brain. And at home, his body was not taking to it too well. The side effects caused him to sleep into the mornings and made him sluggish and moody. Is this what we had to deal with for some years to come? “At least a few years…”, is what the doctor had said. We were told that the medicines had to be administered twice daily at specified times for a number of years. Any deviation would reset the treatment. Additionally, we were asked to frequently conduct tests to assess whether the medicines had affected his liver. Anne and I just plainly trusted God with his future.

I would often wonder, What if the doctor had diagnosed his condition (epilepsy) wrongly? Could it be that he was actually fine and I was unnecessarily polluting his body with such potent drugs? Maybe we should take a second opinion. Where’s the harm in that? But hey, our present doctor is reputed and was very forceful of her opinion. What if she gets offended? These thoughts went on for two months before we finally decided to get a second opinion.

****

JM and I were at another hospital in Kerala, my home state. It was among the best hospitals in South India.  I knew a lot of people were praying for my son. Some of my close pastoral friends encouraged me several times over the phone. Would God heal JM? God please heal my son. Only you have the power to heal!

A team of doctors had an elaborate assessment of JM’s history and then ushered us into the room of “the best paediatric neurologist in India” (as touted by some of his esteemed colleagues). He took some time with us and asked some questions and then concluded confidently, “John is not an epileptic child!”. What?? Did I hear him say it right?  My heart was bursting with joy. The doctor however indicated that we would have to do an additional test to confirm his assessment.

I could not contain my joy as I announced this to all my friends. Twelve days later, they conducted his overnight EEG and in a week from then we met the doctor again, where he immediately confirmed his opinions.

I punched the air, leaned down and hugged my son outside the doc’s room, smiling at everyone as JM and I trotted away!

But soon there were many who asked us to take a third opinion from another well-known neurologist, just to be extra sure. We were told of a doctor who was the retired Head of Neurology from one of the best hospitals in India. In a month, we walked into his room. Unlike most other doctors, he made JM feel comfortable immediately. He talked to him like a grandfather to a grandchild. He used some things from his office for JM to play with. I liked him instantly! After his interaction with JM, he turned to me and retraced JM’s history as he continually entered data. He also looked at all the scans and reports from both his prior doctoral visits. And then he took off the spectacles that were perched on his nose and placed it on the table in front of him. Uh oh! I was starting to get nervous now. This does not look good. God help me! Did my heart stop beating?

He then cleared his voice and looked me in the eye and declared, “There is nothing wrong in his brain! Neurologists frequently think any problem is brain-related but they investigate the right data in the wrong place. Your son is not epileptic and you should taper off these drugs immediately!” A flood of relief came over me. As I continued looking normal (while my insides were doing a double back flip praising Jesus), the doctor turned to JM and played with him some more.

God had chosen to restore our world!

Now it’s 2 months since that last visit to the doctor and there are many things I learnt from this entire experience.

First, our God is GOD! He can do anything He chooses with our lives and we should find joy in seeing Him work His loving plans (though it may not feel very loving). This life is about God’s ongoing story where He is the Hero. It is not my story; I play a part in His mega plot.

Second, prayers work! My prayer life and continual dependence on Jesus’ Spirit is starting to become a habitual posture. I would not trade this for anything.

Third, I have learned to receive encouragement and love from my church family. As a pastor, I commonly speak into people’s lives and encourage them with the gospel of Jesus. In this case, they did this for me through prayers, scriptural reminders and compassionate gestures. I am blessed!

Fourth, my wife and I have gained a unified view of gospel-centering our life in unpredictable and turbulent times. Would we have learned another way? I don’t think so. We are more prepared today for handling suffering than we were before.

Here ends the ‘When sickness visited my home’ series. I thank you all for the encouragement and prayers. You have been with us through the entire time. God is good indeed. His best gift, Jesus, is infinitely superior to all my life’s precious things. No one can take Him from me. Should not my joy know no bounds forever? When I functionally live out the fact that Jesus is indeed the best gift, all the other idols I place higher than God (health, prosperity, career, family) will lose its grip on me.

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10 Replies

  1. Susan Abraham

    Amazing post Vivek! Praising God for all that He’s teaching you and how He’s using your experience to influence others..

    1. Vivek Jones

      Susan, thanks a lot. I am praying that we won’t forget what we learnt.

  2. Deema Charles

    Amazing to see God @ work..n praising God for u guys..what He is teaching u n want us to learn too..God bless!

    1. Vivek Jones

      Deema, God has been gracious indeed. And I am convinced that He gives grace to all…but in His own way. The moment we lose sight of that, we lose a grip on ‘gospel-centred life’. Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. Johns George

    Praise God indeed! What a wonderful piece of news!

    1. Vivek Jones

      Johns, it was a relief indeed when we were experiencing it ourselves. Many a times we even thought and wondered whether the first doctor was actually right and the other two heroes got it wrong. In fact I thought of another blog post on that itself (Lol!) but then discarded the idea :-). Whatever God intends would be to His glory!

  4. Donald

    Praise God Vivek so glad!! Vivek I know you guys are really tired but when you regain strength please check if God is leading you to Sue them. So that this kind of tortures can be avoided.

    1. Vivek Jones

      Donald, thanks for your encouragement! I did think through those lines a few times and have not reached any convinced position on it. I am not going to sue them and that’s not because I believe it is the best option but because I lack motivation to go through the entire process :-(. For the larger good, I realize it is better I stick my neck on the line…but..!

  5. Praising God for JM! We do worship a great God! And how He’s blessed us through His Son. Will continue to keep you all in our prayers!

    1. Vivek Jones

      Naiesha, thanks for your prayers! God in His Son has indeed blessed us more than we will ever know. An eternity with Him and we will still be even more bewildered at His forgiveness and love to sinners.

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