What I Learned From My First Major Health Scare

Erik Cooper —  April 30, 2014 — 3 Comments

I never even thought about my age until I turned 30. I certainly never thought about my health. But just three months shy of my 40th birthday, it seemed like my entire body was beginning to fall apart.

My liver, heart, and brain were simultaneously betraying me, and no one could figure out why. We joke that 40 is “over the hill,” but my body seemed to be careening right over the crest and starting a massive avalanche down the other side.

The good news (if there is such a thing when you’re talking about sickness) is that they finally think they found out what the heck is wrong with me. I have a rare autoimmune blood disorder that tricks the antibodies in my blood. Normally sent to fight off infection, these antibodies attack the platelets instead, causing them to clot when they shouldn’t.

Most of my docs believe this disorder is responsible for all my crazy symptoms these past 7 weeks. With simple blood thinners, we should see the clots dissolve and my body return to some semblance of normal over the next 3-6 months. (Your prayers are still welcome).

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Here’s the sobering reality:

I try to take care of myself. Hit the gym 3 times a week. Watch my weight. Get a good night’s sleep. Avoid fried foods. Take my vitamins.

Consistent and meticulous effort.

And yet all my hard work couldn’t overcome my body’s brokenness. A “glitch” in my frail, human system caused my own blood to turn on me, and I was helpless to stop it or fix it on my own. Helpless.

The parallels to our spiritual life are uncanny.

No matter how hard we strive, how much good we do, how many rules we obey, how many righteous acts we perform, we can’t outwork our broken nature anymore than I can outwork my blood disorder. There’s a “glitch” in our DNA that we can’t fix ourselves. It’s called sin. We need help. Outside help.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God!”

–Romans 8:5 MSG

Listen, I’m not suggesting we don’t try, that effort is meaningless, that hard work isn’t noble or God-honoring. Of course it is. I’m just saying it won’t fix what’s wrong with you. Your problem is bigger than you, and your solution needs to be, too.

His name is Jesus, and the Good News is that all the healing you need can be found in Him.

3 responses to What I Learned From My First Major Health Scare

  1. Wow. Erik, Thanks for a huge life lesson. Trying very hard to apply this to my own life right now.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Parenting Into Grace | Beyond The Risk - Erik Cooper - February 25, 2015

    […] year, I was diagnosed with a blood disorder. The antibodies that normally fight off infection unilaterally decided that the platelets in my […]

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