The late theologian John Murray once said, “The difference between truth and error is not a chasm, but a razor’s edge.” As one who has a done a fair amount of studying theology and church history I believe he is right. More often than not it is the slightest of differences in belief that create the yawning canyons between opponents throughout the history of the church. For example, at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD where the main argument centered around the Deity of Jesus Christ, the split between the differing opinions separated over a single, yet very important letter. Arius, who believed Jesus was not fully God, argued to use the word homoiousios — meaning of similar substance — while Athansius, who believed Jesus was God as a member of the Trinity, stressed using the word homoousios — meaning of same substance. Ultimately, Athansius rightfully prevailed, but, while the issue was monumental, the difference was a single letter “i”. Granted this is an extremely condensed version of what happened, yet the difference a single letter or a word makes has separated varying beliefs since 325 AD.
I was reminded of this quote recently while thinking about something completely different. I was reminded of it while thinking about Kim’s health. Yesterday I learned that one of the members in our online RAD community had passed away this last week due to RAD. I never had any interaction with the lady who died, but that doesn’t mean her death didn’t impact us in any way. The fact is it did. And then I made a mistake and mentioned it to Kim out loud not even thinking that our two youngest children were sitting within ear shot. Our youngest son, who is 15, looked at me and said, “This lady died from RAD? I didn’t know you could die from it.” We haven’t ever tried to hide things from our children. In fact we have been quite open about all of Kim’s health issues with them and they have responded positively to everything. Yet, at the same time, we haven’t spelled out every possible scenario with RAD. The reality is that we don’t know how Kim’s RAD will play out so there is no need to worry them about things that may never come to pass.
Yet as I reflected on the conversation that took place yesterday afternoon and also on my own research into RAD, I was reminded of the quote by John Murray. Not because of truth and error, but rather truth and worry. Let me rephrase his quote. The difference between being informed and worry is not a chasm, but a razor’s edge. Maybe it’s just me, but often times I walk this incredibly fine line with Kim’s health. I firmly believe that part of my responsibility as her husband is to help take care of her. That means spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It also means that I know her better, or at least I should, than anyone else. Knowing her propensity towards stubbornness and that she has a strong tendency towards ignoring symptoms that later seem to become significant means that I need to be pro-active in her health. Watching for symptoms, remembering pains she’s had, going with her to doctor’s appointments, etc. For me it also means research. Sometimes lots of research of looking at things I struggle to grasp like medications and their side effects, or reading medical journals that correlate with symptoms that she is experiencing. Why? Because RAD is a very serious disease and I’m not about to stand by quietly uninformed about how it affects my wife.
So I research and I study and I struggle to remember medical terminology and medications and how they seem to simultaneously help and hurt. I listen to her struggle to breath and read multiple articles about how RAD and lung disease go hand in hand. That over 50% of individuals that contract RAD have it ultimately affect their lungs. That lung disease is either the second or third leading cause of death in RAD patients, depending on which study you read. Infection being the other leading cause due to a compromised immune system. That the leading cause of morbidity in RAD patients is heart disease. At the moment of Kim’s diagnosis her risk of heart disease increased by almost 50%. At the moment of her diagnosis! Not because of any medications that she was on or because of her diet or anything else. No, just being diagnosed with RAD increases your risk of heart disease significantly.
I could go on and on and fill the whole blog with posts of the risks of RAD, but that isn’t the point I want to make. As I continue to become educated about what we are facing with RAD I must confess that my quest of learning often leads me down the road of worry. That every gasp by Kim turns into fears of a deadly lung disease or that abnormally elevated blood work showing the nasty side effects of prednisone on her heart actually drives worry into mine. And so this razor edge line of becoming informed often turns to worry in my own heart. So why do it? Why not simply become an ostrich and stick my head in the sand and deal with whatever may come when it does? The reason, I believe, is because I have no other choice. I really don’t. Sure I could ignore the little symptoms that Kim tries to ignore as well. We could not take the time to read medical abstracts and continue on as naively about RAD as we were prior to her diagnosis, but how does that help her? By becoming educated we see changes that we need to make. Because we know that she is now at a significantly higher risk for heart disease we can began to take steps to hopefully prevent that from happening. That being pro-active with her health rather than reactionary may help to tack on years to her life. Kelly Young appropriately states that “If we’re going to fight a dragon, we need to know about the dragon.” I couldn’t agree more even though sometimes becoming educated about the dragon leads to worry and fear about the beast.
Ultimately, my razor edge walk between learning and worry reflect most of all on my faith in God. Do I trust Him in word only and not with my very heart? Yes. Quite often the answer is yes. But He continues to pull me back to Him. And so I learn again and again the lesson I’ve learned before that I can cast every care on Him and that He has promised that He will never, not ever, let the righteous be moved. (Psalm 55:22) That the life of Kim, and the life of us all, is in His hands. That every one of our days has been numbered before we were even born. (Psalm 139:16) That when I worry I am telling God that I don’t trust Him to be good and that I don’t trust Him to determine the plans that He has for me. How foolish can I be? So time and again I fall back into Him and cry out, “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!” I will continue to walk the edge of this blade because ultimately it is less about learning and worry and more about trusting Him. And it is very apparent that right now my biggest issue is not about Kim’s health, but rather whether or not I can trust God to be glorified and good regardless of how He has written her story.