November 20, 2012


"Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray." (James 5:13)

This verse is from the meditation on 'Suffering' in the book titled "The Everlasting Word", by Frans Bakker, published by Reformation Heritage Books. Often, we try everything else first, and then turn to prayer as a last resort. But the text 'commands' the afflicted to pray before doing anything else. This means trusting in God's providence and sovereignty instead of jumping to our own solutions or relying only on the help of man. This is a lesson that is hard for us to learn, because it goes against our pride and the natural tendencies of our heart. Affliction is meant for our profit (Psalm 119), and to drive us out to God.

I must admit that it has not always been my habit, when confronted with a difficulty, to go to God in prayer as a first resort. But now that I am in the middle of a prolonged affliction, I am more likely to cry out to God for help. Perhaps that is one of His reasons for my sickness, to bring me closer to Him.

As for the progress of the ALS, I have lost the ability to chew my food, drink with a straw, and move my hands. I still eat, but the consistency has to be like mashed potatoes or pudding that I can swallow without chewing. Lena uses a little hand grinder to mince the meat and vegetables, and then she mixes it with gravy or mayo or ranch dressing (slider) so that I can get it down.

I am also having difficulty drinking liquids. It takes me a whole day to drink a glass of juice using a straw. So to keep me hydrated, Lena gives me 1 liter of water every day through the G tube in my stomach.

Last week I had to have my computer modified because I can no longer use my thumb to click the switch that functions as my mouse button. I now use the reflective tape on my glasses to direct the cursor on the screen. If the cursor rests on a letter or a word for 1.2 seconds, then it is selected, and appears in my document. Needless to say, it is a tedious process, but I am thankful for the technology.

"Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46) I pray that I may continue to be submissive and content while under affliction, and that I might not sin against such a good doing and merciful God. I am comforted knowing that my Saviour is in heaven, seated at my Fathers right hand, never slumbering or sleeping, preparing a place for me (John 14), and sending His angels and His people to care for me. He prays for me, and He hears my prayers.

The Word is full of comforting promises, and I plead with Jesus to remember me, and to not forsake me. He keeps His promises.



  1. Yes, the Lord keeps His promises and He will not forsake you. Praying for you and Lena and your family.

    Mary VanDoodewaard

  2. I have been reading your blog for a long time and have often been encouraged by God's faithfulness in upholding you and your wife. We have recently lost a daughter to Zellweger Syndrome or Infantile Refsum Disease and it is a similar disease to yours. God also upheld us and did not let us down. His wedding text to us was "Caste thy burden on the Lord and He shall sustain thee." Ps 55:22. This has proven to be true over and over. We pray for you and your family daily. He is a Great God.

  3. Dear brother Jack and Lena,
    It brings me to tears when I read your blog, how helpless we humans are and dependent on God.
    Oh Jack, I so pray that much good comes out of our illnesses and God will bless it to countless hearts. Even if we will never see the outcome I pray that God will be glorified each and every day.
    You and Lena are in our prayers daily.
    Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

    My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me,
    I cannot choose the colors He worketh steadily.

    Oft times He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride
    forget He sees the upper but I the under side.

    Not till the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly,
    shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.

    The dark threads are as needed in the Weaver's skillful hand,
    as threads of gold and silver in the pattern life has planned.

    Benjamin Malachi Franklin (1882-1965)

  4. We have been following your journey for a long time. What a testimony you are! We are thankful that God upholds you and has given you strength in the midst of such great struggle. We are praying and will continue to pray as the trials intensify. You have a beautiful family! God bless.