Spiritual Practice


Katherine Harris and Debra Weiss

When I was twelve, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the intestines and stomach. I had to grow up fast. I took twelve pills a day, one of which made my face and stomach swell. I dreaded going to school, knowing that all the stares, whispers, and questions would leave me feeling like a caged animal at the zoo. During those days, I felt as if God had left me to fend for myself.

Don’t stay far away, Lord!
My strength comes from you,
so hurry and help.
Psalm 22:19 (CEV)

One Sunday night at youth group, somebody read Philippians 4:13 (NRSV): “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” That verse gave me hope that I could do all things through Christ, even getting through the darkness of Crohn’s disease.

Now, I know that God did not forsake me but drew me closer during that time of suffering. Instead of feeling embarrassed when I look at pictures of myself in seventh grade, I simply thank God for holding me close.

—Katherine Harris, 16


GOD IS WITH YOU: When I was seventeen, I was diagnosed with dysautonomia, a disease that affects the nervous system and makes my body do unusual things. I felt completely alone and wondered if God even cared. But my sickness didn’t take God by surprise. Over time, I’ve learned that I can trust God to be with me even when my life seems to be spinning out of control.

—Debra Weiss, 22

—from devozine (May/June 2012). Copyright © 2012 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved.

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