Doug Bare is a member of our KingsWay family who has been suffering from ALS. Read below for His testimony of God’s faithfulness to Him through this trial.
It is hard to believe how many years have passed since my initial diagnosis of ALS. For those of you who don’t know, ALS or as it is sometimes known in the United States, Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a disease that eats away at the nerves surrounding your muscles, eventually causing the muscle to die – they call it wasting. ALS usually starts in one or more of your extremities. Eventually it will affect your ability to walk, swallow, talk, and finally breathe. There is no known cure for ALS. The normal progression of this disease is 2-5 years although some people live longer – some less. I feel blessed that I have been diagnosed with a slower moving form of ALS.
The disease started in my right hand and arm. I now have no use of that arm. Over the years it has progressed to my left arm and legs. I now use a motorized wheelchair with extra support for my head and neck.
For the first two or three years the disease didn’t really affect me that much – I was able to continue to do pretty much what I wanted to do. Then my left arm and right leg became weaker and I am now unable to do some of the most simple tasks such as cut up my food, get dressed, get in and out of bed without help. This is really hard to accept for a person who was always a fix-it kind of guy and was able to take care of most things myself. I think this is one of the lessons God has taught me – I now have to trust and rely first on Christ, then other family members and friends, especially my wife, my main caregiver. I can’t do it all myself. We live in a society that thinks we can fix everything on our own. We have to realize we are all a needy people. When you are struggling with a problem or situation, go to the Lord first and then to a trusted friend, parent, or spouse and ask for help.
God has taught me that even though there are many things I can no longer do, I can still be thankful for much. I love Ed Dobson’s quote. He was a Baptist minister who had ALS. He stated that Scripture says, “In all things be thankful.” It does not say, “For all things be thankful.” So we do not have to be thankful for ALS or any trouble we are going through but in the midst of that trouble, scripture instructs us to be thankful. So I am thankful for things such as conversations with friends, coming to church and Community Group, and I can still read God’s word and pray.
Someone once told me you must have great faith because God gave you this terrible disease. I replied I really don’t feel that God gives us these things, we live in a fallen world and bad things are going to happen. Could God have prevented it? Absolutely. Could God cure it? Absolutely. But I don’t feel God causes these things to happen. That’s the reason Jesus went to the cross for us. He suffered more than any of us ever will whether it is ALS or any other trouble. And Jesus’ resurrection, His triumph over sin and death, guarantees a future day when every disease and trouble will be no more. Sin and suffering will not prevail. Thank you, Jesus.
I’m not sure if I will make another year, but many years ago, before I even had this disease I said that the older I get, the more I look forward to the day when we will sit around the table with those who have gone before us and every tribe and every nation and worship Jesus. And we know that’s going to happen because of Jesus’ resurrection. Because He rose, we too will rise! I look forward to that time even more. Of course there are things I will miss, the love of my wife, the fun and fellowship with friends and relatives, watching my grand kids grow up and mature. But on the other hand, I know I will be with Jesus and free of this disease. I will look forward to that even more. And I am secure with the knowledge that my Christian friends and family will soon be joining me.
Let me close with this scripture from 2 Corinthians: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Thank you for your prayers, God bless you and to God goes the glory.