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How You Should (and Shouldn't) Pray for Me and My Illness

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A video has been making its way across several diabetes support groups on Facebook. This video shows a young adult at a church where the pastor claims to have healed her of her type 1 diabetes through prayer. He asks her what she has, and she says type 1 diabetes for 10 plus years, and then shows her insulin pump. She also says before she went up there that her blood sugar was in the 300s. The pastor keeps saying, “You are shaking.” He then asks her to look at her number again. So she goes down to her seat to grab a glucometer and he yells, “I don’t have all day, hurry up!” She hurries and checks her sugar and it is down to the 80s.

Normal blood glucose is between 80 and 120, so the pastor then claims she is healed and the whole congregation starts singing. While in all the groups this video is met with a lot of rolled eyes emojis, this video poses a real threat to people that are newly diagnosed, experiencing diabetes burnout, or are depressed. You see, this girl was not healed – but her insulin pump was doing its job and lowered her blood sugar, and then the shaking is probably a mixture of adrenaline and her blood sugar dropping from 300 to 80.

Studies have shown that people with diabetes are at a greater risk of depression. Diabetes really takes a toll on a person’s psyche. On the daily, it beats us up both physically and mentally, we are just numbers by the end of it. We could eat the exact same thing and do the exact same thing every day, but we still would not be perfect. That number at the end of the day not only eats away at our body but also our souls. The defeat some days is excruciating. And then the judgment from others comes.

“Why did you eat that?”

“It can’t be that hard to control diabetes, you are just noncompliant.”

Or when you have a politician like Ted Cruz who says those who are good and faithful do not get things like AIDS, cancer, or diabetes. I want to scream. Hearing these things it makes you question yourself. What have I done to deserve this? Why do I have to carry such a burden? Oh, how many nights do I lay in bed wondering what I could do differently as the tears stream down my face? This disease has a special way of breaking one’s spirit.

Back to the video. If you want to pray for us please do, we need it all. But do not claim that through prayer we will be cured. That could give false hope, and it also could put dangerous thoughts in those who feel hopeless. They may wonder things like: Why they were not cured despite the fact that they prayed hard? What is wrong with them? What did they do wrong?

If you want to pray, pray for peace, the peace that we will accept our diabetes. Pray for us to have an easy day and our numbers will be stable. Pray for safety during a low blood sugar. Pray that ketones will be kept at bay during a high blood sugar. Pray that we will be able to afford our medications and gadgets. Pray that we will find a strong support system to help hold us up when we are at our weakest. Just please do not make false claims that it will cure us.

Getty Image by 4maksym

Originally published: June 25, 2018
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