"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” – Mt. 8:8

I am amazed at the centurion's faith in today’s gospel. He put his faith in Jesus. He was certain his servant would be healed if Jesus commanded it so. As a control freak, I struggle every day with blind faith.

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare nerve disease for which there was no cure. The treatments were mostly trial-and-error. Not one to ask for help, I suffered alone. I didn’t want to burden anyone with what I was going through; they have their own lives to worry about.

For the first couple of months, I was gung-ho about different treatments. I was determined to beat this like every other obstacle. I grew up on the streets of New York. I learned to walk again after a car accident from which the doctors thought would keep me immobile. I survived NYC’s corporate life. How hard could this be? All I needed was a clear head and determination. I can solve this.

I was horribly wrong. It was hard. The meds given made me sick. The side effects caused depression. There were days I couldn’t get out of bed because I was trapped in mental and physical pain. Nothing seemed to work. My body failed me. The doctor provided pamphlets and suggested online communities for support. Neither helped. I wallowed in self-pity and shied away from family and friends. The more pain I felt, the more I wanted to be alone.

Then my worst fear happened. On a routine monthly doctor visit, the doctor said with the sound of defeat in her voice, “You’re not getting any better, and we’re running out of options. There is a trial that is starting. It will take a year. It’s a brand new trial. If you decide to do it, you will be one of the first few participants. It will be hard on you. I don’t recommend it, but it’s your choice.”

I left the office numb. I would’ve jumped at the opportunity during the earlier stages of my diagnosis. However, the months of pain without positive results had diminished my confidence in finding a cure. I lost the zest I once had. I was more cautious. The fear of pain was real. I wasn’t sure if I could endure more disappointments of failed treatments. Lost in a daze, I headed to church to sit and stare at Jesus on the cross. For the first time in a long time, I prayed. I prayed for the people suffering. I prayed for the strength to make a decision. I opened up and had a conversation with Him about my fears and hopes.

In the days that followed, I opened up to friends and family about my struggle. A friend suggested a treatment that helped. I didn’t go through the trial. A new dosage of medication was prescribed. A year after the bad news, the doctor was happy to announce, “You’re improving! What changed?” With a smile I responded, “I prayed.”

It’s been 3 years. Instead of focusing on the pain, I’ve developed a habit to pray daily, to have conversations with Him. It gives me peace knowing God is there. 

Lord Jesus Christ, continue to open my eyes and heart to trust and allow faith to guide me.

Kath Tran

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