Health problems come in many forms.
Some people have symptoms that are evident on the outside, while others have effects that are felt only on the inside.
Some health problems “visit” only on occasion, while others “move in” and present challenges every day.
Some can be cured or at least managed, while others are degenerative
—perhaps even threatening a person’s life.
Young people face all the types of health challenges noted here. In this article, you will meet four who have such challenges. If you suffer from a health problem, you may be encouraged by their comments.
The hardest thing for me is to accept my limits. I want to do so many things, but each day I have to adapt to my condition.
I have a motor-neuromuscular disorder that prevents my brain from correctly passing information to my body. Different parts of my body, from head to toe, will sometimes tremble or become paralyzed. I have difficulty with basic tasks, such as moving, speaking, reading, writing, and understanding others. When things are especially hard, the elders from my congregation pray with me. When they do that, I feel calmer right away.
Whatever trials I face, I feel that Jehovah God is always there to sustain me. I do not want my illness to prevent me from serving him fully. I make it a priority to help others to learn of the Bible’s promise that soon Jehovah God will make the earth a paradise, where suffering will be no more.
To think about: In what ways can you, like Guénaelle, show your compassion for others?
When I was 16, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. The doctors told me I had only eight months to live. I have been battling for my life ever since.
Because of the placement of the tumors, I am now a right-side hemiplegic. Since I am unable to walk, someone always needs to be at home to help me get around.
The progression of my disease has made it difficult for me to communicate clearly. I used to be a very active person who enjoyed waterskiing, basketball, and volleyball. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I was active in the Christian ministry. I don’t think most people understand what it’s like to lose the ability to do the things you love so much.
I find the words recorded at Isaiah 57:15 encouraging because they assure me that Jehovah God is there for those who are ‘crushed in spirit’ and that he cares for me. Also Isaiah 35:6 contains the promise from Jehovah that I will be able to walk again and serve him in perfect health.
Even though at times it can be very difficult to deal with my illness, I am assured that I have Jehovah’s backing. By means of prayer, I always have someone to talk to when I’m feeling down or fear for my life. Nothing can separate me from Jehovah’s love.
Zachary fell asleep in death at the age of 18, two months after he was interviewed. His faith in God’s promise of a resurrection to a paradise earth remained strong to the end.
To think about: How can prayer help you, like Zachary, to remain in God’s love?
When I was just a few days old, I had a brain hemorrhage that left me with a disability affecting my entire body, especially my legs.
Today, I can go short distances with a walking frame, but I usually need a wheelchair to get around. I also have spasms that make it difficult to perform precise tasks, such as handwriting.
Besides the stress of my condition, my treatment has been challenging. I’ve had physiotherapy sessions several times a week for as long as I can remember. I had my first major surgery when I was five years old, and I’ve had three more since then. The last two procedures were particularly difficult because I was away from home for three months while I recuperated.
My family have been a big help. We laugh together, which really helps when I’m down. My mother and my sisters help me to look nice, since I can’t do this alone. I regret not being able to wear high heels. But I did manage to do it once as a child by crawling with shoes on my hands, and we all had a good laugh over that!
I try not to let my situation define me. I study languages. I swim, which helps make up for my not being able to surf or snowboard. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I like to go out in the ministry to share my faith with others. It seems that people are very attentive when I speak to them.
My parents taught me early on that my condition is only temporary. Since then, I’ve built my own faith in Jehovah and his promise to end all suffering, including mine. This gives me the strength to move forward.
To think about: In what ways can you, like Anaïs, not let your health problem “define” you?
I have a painful autoimmune disorder that can affect the heart, lungs, and blood. It has already affected my kidneys.
I was ten years old when I was diagnosed with lupus, a disease that has caused me pain, fatigue, and mood swings. At times, I feel worthless.
When I was 13, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses called at our home. She read me Isaiah 41:10, in which Jehovah God says: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. . . . I will really keep fast hold of you with my right hand of righteousness.” That’s when I began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Today, some eight years later, I serve God wholeheartedly, and I’m determined not to let my illness control my life. I feel that Jehovah has given me “power beyond what is normal,” so that I can keep a positive attitude.
To think about: How can Isaiah 41:10 help you to keep a positive attitude, just as it helped Juliana?