Jump directly to the content
Ed Dobson: How God Uses My Lou Gehrig's Disease for Good

Ed Dobson: How God Uses My Lou Gehrig's Disease for Good

The seasoned pastor connects Kim Newlen's story of battling breast cancer to his own battle with ALS

I love Christianity Today's new documentary film about breast-cancer survivor Kim Newlen. Even though I have never had cancer, have never had surgery to remove a tumor, and have never undergone chemotherapy, it spoke to me.

When I was diagnosed with ALS in 2000, doctors they gave me two to five years to live. And most of it would be in the disabled condition. They don't know what causes ALS, a disease where the electrical signals from the brain fail to reach the muscle, and the muscle begins to die. It's not a pleasant disease.

The theme of "Bolder as I Got Balder" is, of course, boldness. It appears that Newlen gets bolder as her cancer progresses. I've noticed the same thing in my life. Almost every week I meet with someone who has been recently diagnosed with ALS. When I meet with them I simply ask questions. I try to listen as much as possible. Toward the end of our conversation, I tell my own story. I always begin with what happened in Northern Ireland when I was 11 years old, when I got down on my knees by my bed one night and invited Jesus to be my Savior and my Lord. Before I was diagnosed with ALS when I met with someone going through a tough time, I don't know that I ever referred to my own journey. But now I've gotten bolder.

Newlen wondered if she would miss seeing her daughter walk down the aisle. That spoke to me. After I was diagnosed with ALS, people would say, "I bet you're thinking a lot about heaven." Actually, not really. I discovered how attached I am to my wife and kids down here. I want to be here as long as I can. When I was first diagnosed I thought, I want to at least walk my daughter down the aisle. I want to watch my first grandkid grow up. I want to grow old with my wife. After 11 years with the disease, I have walked my daughter down the aisle, seen four grandkids born, and am still hoping to grow old with my wife. The more time I have, the greedier I become. I want more and more time with my family.

Toward the end of the film, Kim talks about living your life with no regrets. Every day I try to live that way. One of the things I did early on was to make a list of everyone whom I know I had offended. I began working my way through the list and asking forgiveness. When I die I want people to know that my relationship with them was "without regrets." I didn't want to die with a broken relationship with other people.

12  

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

When I learned that kids in my city couldn't swim, I started to rethink how much I'd invested in overseas missions.
Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

For Harrison Higgins, building beautiful furniture is not simply a steady job but a sacrament unto God.
Faith in a Fallen Empire

Faith in a Fallen Empire

Detroit's list of maladies is long. But some Christians' commitment to its renewal is longer.
'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

How I answered the question would prove crucial to addressing racial divides in our D.C. neighborhood.

Comments Are Closed

No comments

SUPPORT THIS IS OUR CITY

Make a contribution to help support the This Is Our City project and the nonprofit ministry Christianity Today.Learn more ...