Sunday, January 25, 2015

Discouraging Results

Psalm 43:5, "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again - my Savior and my God!"

I went to the dermatologist last Thursday... again. It has been nearly a 3 year battle with acne I've been facing.

When I was a teenager, I'd experience the blemish here and there on my skin, but when I turned 18, those blemishes that I thought added up to acne were put in perspective for me when my entire face broke out in literal acne. At first, we thought it was just a rash. However, after finally making it to the dermatologist, we discovered it wasn't a rash at all. It was simply acne.

Thankfully, the dermatologist had a solution to my problem. The solution is called Acutane. I prefer to call it miracle medicine. I started the six month treatment, and within a month or two of starting this medicine, you couldn't even tell I'd had acne before. Can you say miracle?

At first, the dermatologist told me after the treatment was over I'd never have to battle acne again. I couldn't believe it! So, I thought I'd be in the clear for good, but about two months after the last dose, I noticed my skin was breaking out all over again.

I went back to the dermatologist to see what we could do, and he put me back on the Acutane. Unfortunately, the same thing happened after this round of medicine. My skin went back to being healthy for a time, and I was thrilled, but it didn't last for more than 2 months after the treatment ended. By the third time of starting this medicine again, the people at the dermatologist were saying, "Third time's a charm, right?" I wish. Once again, the same story happened after going off of Acutane.

When I went back Thursday for my follow-up appointment, I also went in and mentioned that the acne seems to be coming back. I thought they'd just put me back on the medication, but this time the dermatologist had a puzzled look on his face and was shocked that after finishing this good treatment I was having any problem at all. He had the nurse write me a prescription for two creams, told me to come back in three months, and sent me on my way.

I left that appointment discouraged beyond belief. Why after all this time was I still battling acne?

I don't know if I'm a completely odd case or not. I'd asked the dermatologist at one point, and he said that his kids were taking Acutane until they were 26, but after his puzzled look, I don't know how normal my case is.

All of this to say, I was discouraged.

It's only been a few days since that visit, and I don't know what I'm going to do about my skin. I am trying to keep it under control with a face wash for acne, and so far, at least I have hope.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because I feel that I'm not the only one who has had moments of discouragement similar to mine. To be honest, me being worried about having acne has made me feel embarrassed partially to even pray about it. Part of me feels there are so many bigger things people have that they're dealing with, and my face having acne on it seems minor in comparison. However, to me it does matter. I know it matters to God too.

Perhaps the doctors are looking at you perplexed at your situation and sending you home saying, "Well, I don't know what's wrong. You should've been fine." Maybe there seems to be no hope because humanly speaking, there isn't.

What Psalm 43:5 reminds me of, though, is this: My hope needs to be in God... not in what I see or don't see.

For the last couple years, God worked through the dermatologist and the Acutane to heal my skin, but I need to remember that the dermatologist and the Acutane are not what ultimately healed me. God is my Healer. Yes, I took medicine. Yes, the dermatologist prescribed it for me, but God is the one Who healed me. And today I claim that He can do it again... with or without medicine.

Something I've thought about before is perhaps there is someone that God can reach through me that may be more approachable by me if I have a bit of acne. What I mean by that is this: With me having acne, I like being around people who don't have perfect skin a whole lot more than being around people who seem to have flawless skin. Maybe other people feel the same way where they'd rather talk to me if my skin is a little broken out. So, I pray that if I have to deal with acne God will use it for good. I pray He will help me reach someone who if I didn't have some acne on my face I couldn't reach the same.

I'm still hoping God heals me from this and FAST. But my hope is no longer going to be in the physical and what I can or cannot see. My hope is in God now. It's not in the doctors. It's not in the antibiotics. It's in God.

Where is your hope today? In what is seen in the physical, or is it in God?

Dear Heavenly Father,

Sometimes things happen that even doctors can't explain. Sometimes medicine isn't enough to heal what's wrong. Thankfully, though, You are enough. Lord, I've felt that praying for my acne to go away is somehow too minor to bring to You; but I know deep down that You care even about that. Please heal me. Thank You that You are my Healer. Lord, for those who are facing discouraging results and who seem to have no hope, please help them have restored hope in You. Thank You that no matter what Your answer is, You work all things for the good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose for them. (See Romans 8:28). In Jesus' Name.

Amen.