When I was laid off in August of 2009 I was at first very OK. I had been laid off once before and found good employment within about 2 or 3 months. It might have even been less than that. As time wore on I began to worry and be concerned. Of course during this time God has had ample opportunity to do some pruning and shaping in my life. I began to worry less, pray more, and be content with whatever God intended to do.
Some of you may not be aware that I have had severe and advanced arthritis in both knees for four years. It has been a major handicap and has been very painful. I have learned to live with it and have not let it stop me from preaching, teaching, discipling, and various ministries. The Apostle Paul had his medical issues which he did not let them stop him and I figured when I was weak God was strong and that His grace is sufficient for me. So I now teach and preach while sitting on a stool. Takes me longer to walk somewhere but by God's grace I get there.
In 2006 I developed pneumonia which led to 8 days in the hospital and an emergency thoracotomy. Since then I have had trouble breathing and have had a nagging and unrelentless cough.
In January I was diagnosed with COPD. By the way, they don't think my COPD is related to smoking. I quit smoking August 1, 1978.
Several family members and some friends felt that I should apply for SS DI. Well I did, and I had to apply twice (we were denied once), jump through a number of hoops, see several doctors, etc. Well, we awarded full disability in an award letter which we received yesterday. Now I know why God refused to open a door for a job, which I would rather have. We did not hit the lottery nor will we receive allot. Until I can find a job that I can do with these infirmities and with a lot of belt tightening we can stay afloat.
Thank you for all who prayed for us and regularly asked about us. Thank you for all who have encouraged me. Sometimes I couldn't see up for looking down. Sometimes it was so dark I couldn't see any light. I started working at 11 years of age and have worked every day since except for a few weeks here and there. This past 18 months have been a real trial. God has done a major work in my soul. We have trusted, maintained joy and looked to God for the majority of the time. Yes, I am only human.
I do not intend on letting either COPD or arthritis keep me from preaching, teaching, discipling, and leading bible studies. I still covet your prayers for the power of God to fall on me as I claim:
"But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities, For when I am weak, then I am strong." (II Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV)