Faith: Is It Shaken or a Source of Strength as We Cope with PF?

Faith: Is It Shaken or a Source of Strength as We Cope with PF?

Just breathe, passionate help for the PF journey
Last week, I shared how common it is for patients and loved ones to struggle with the severity of our PF diagnosis. We are all equipped differently to handle emotional pain and face the reality of what we are dealing with. Our faith can be a source of strength and comfort, or it can be shaken to its core during such difficult times.

Questioning faith in God?

It is hard for all of us to reconcile how tragedies happen to those who have a positive effect on the world. It shakes our sense of how the world is supposed to be and may cause us to question our faith in God. My faith is very important to me – it is the foundation for how I live my life, and how I cope with having pulmonary fibrosis.

It can be hard to reconcile that God can dearly love us, yet allow tragedy into our lives. For some, the seeming disconnect is too much to handle, and they may either reject or question their faith in God. For others, our faith provides a source of strength, comfort, and purpose.

When going through hardships and devastating losses it is very normal to ask questions such as,“Why? Why me? God, Why won’t you heal me?” plus a whole lot more. Asking these questions, feeling the emotions, and wishing for a different reality is normal, and part of the grief process. It’s normal to feel angry, disappointed, and confused about what is happening.

Here’s my perspective. I know it may be different from yours.

God has not failed or disappointed me. What helps me adjust to such devastating health news is how I see God, and my worldview:

  • The world is not fair, and it’s not supposed to be. Bad things happen – we live in a fallen world.
  • God never promises we won’t have hardships. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
  • He doesn’t promise healing. He welcomes us to ask for it, but that is His decision.
  • What He does promise is that He will be with me through whatever I’m going through. And He always keeps that promise.
  • The world we want isn’t here, it is in heaven.
  • He decides these things, I don’t decide these things.
  • What I do decide is how I handle it, how I cling to Him, how I care for myself, how I use whatever is happening for greater good, and how I let God use me to bless others. This is what I’m trying to put my time and energy into.
  • He promises in Romans 8:28 that, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
  • I believe I am a small and important part of the big picture. I know that God is using what I am going through to help others. I don’t need to know why; I trust Him.

I’m not placing my hope and well-being in getting a lung transplant in time. My hope is in Him, and His purposes for my life. I want to continue to grow and mature, and help others the best I can, for as long as I can.

I go through days of sadness and distress just like anyone else. So far, I’m able to come back to my Hope in Him, after I process my normal emotions.

I feel released from worrying, planning, and obsessing about changing things over which I have no control. My hope and confidence are in Him, who created this whole world, and my very life. I know He will not forsake me — even when His answers and my future turn out different than I’d like.

Following are some verses that bring me great comfort:

I hope they will be to you as well. Don’t confuse what has happened with who God is. He is good and will be with you as you and your loved ones live with pulmonary fibrosis.


I truly hope this column is helpful to you. I care about each and every one of you and would love to hear your response to what I’ve shared, even if you have a different perspective than I do.

I’d love to hear from you!

What stood out for you in this column? How has your faith been affected by your diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis? What is hard about what I shared? What is a comfort?

Please share this post with anyone you feel could benefit or on social media. We’re in this together.

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Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

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36 comments

  1. JUDY Krasovec says:

    I always thought I had a good relationship with GOD , but but 3 years ago COPD, 2good years still able to do everything. Then blood clot in lung double pneumonia bladder cancer 1 month stay in hospital, life changer. Still ok with all but woke up in severe joint pain+15. Test at Dr get results today. So yes I think HE’S really mad at me! Do hope I feel better about all of this soon, Still have faith tho.

    • Hi Judy,
      Thanks so much for your comment. So very sorry for all you’ve been through with your health in the last few years. It sounds very, very hard. I appreciate you sharing with us, and hope things improve for you soon. So glad you commented.

  2. Eric Strayer says:

    It always seems unfair that if people talk about god and jesus and the rest in terms of it being someone’s “will” or it being a “blessing” things are OK. It is socially acceptable in the aggregate. But if I were to post stuff about the importance of accepting “nothingness” in a universe evolved by chance and some such stuff, well, I’m out. So I must respectfully state my offense at this material presented. After all, you just reminded your followers to avoid political controversy. Well, I’d say politics and religion are equally as volatile. Hey, just sayin’.

    • Hi Eric,
      I’m so glad you shared your comment. I do appreciate your perspective, and sharing it in such a respectful way. I know my perspective is not shared by everyone, and was hoping that others would comment, regardless of agreeing or not.

      I’m so sorry you have experienced negativity when sharing your views in the past. Everyone deserves to have their own opinion, including you. I shared this topic today because I know that being diagnosed with PF affects all areas of our lives: physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

      I did have one question I was hoping you could clarify. You mentioned, “After all, you just reminded your followers to avoid political controversy.” Could you let me know where I did this. I’m not sure I know what you mean. Thanks again for sharing today. I really am glad you did!

  3. Esther Landers says:

    My husband because of his ipf has some very bad times and can’t enjoy or do the activities he used to like going to baseball games, vacation,etc.
    but still praises the the Lord for all things. Especially for saving his soul. We both do. He’s put it all in God’s hands.

    • Hi Esther,
      Thanks so much for sharing your comment to my column today. What a blessing you are to your husband as he lives with ipf. I’m so glad you and your husband are finding comfort in the arms of the Lord, as I am. Many blessings to you both.

  4. Len says:

    We all have different views on spirituality and that’s a good thing. Who am I to say a supreme being exists, and who, if anyone should worship that being. We have freedom of religion but we also have freedom from religion, which some folks don’t want to recognize. All of our views should be equal and just as much consequence. Some folks don’t realize they are just as bad as the folks on the other side. My religion and belief in Jesus gives me comfort which I seek. For me to try and force that on others would be wrong.

    • Terry Turner says:

      Len,

      It is wrong to force opinions of any kind on someone else. However, as a Christian myself, I believe sharing the goodness of God through word as well as through actions is a testament in itself. Don’t be afraid to share your beliefs, even folks on each side need encouragement. Some may reject it but some won’t.

  5. Ron Odom says:

    A Christian is one who has a fellowship with Christ Jesus. Christians do not force opinions, they merely state their experience while following Jesus.

    Islam, aka Allah, forces opinions. Jesus is a gentleman and simply offers His hand in fellowship. You can refuse it if you like, that’s the “Free Will” that God gave to you.

    Every individual on Earth in one way or another recognizes Christ. Simply stating today’s date as June 14, 2017 A.D. (Year of Our Lord) recognizes Christ. So if one chooses not to recognize Christ, they need to adapt a different calendar.

  6. Diane Alexander says:

    I was diagnosed in 2012 with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2012. I remember my sadness and crying to God to have mercy on me. He heard my cry and he has allowed me to live! I take care of my own home and I have a big ministry in my church. I help in my yard. My husband is a sick man and I help him. Every day I thank and praise him for keeping me alive. He is my oxygen and my life, my source, my stronghold in times of trouble. Christ in me,the hope of Glory.I am thankful for my faith. I never would have gotten through without Jesus!

    • Hi Diane, thanks so much for sharing your wonderful story. I am so delighted you are doing so well, and am so glad your faith in God is such a blessing to you. Many blessings to you and your husband 🙂

  7. Brian Sowter says:

    Hello Kim
    Thank you for your article in which talk about an issue which is close to my heart.
    Faith is very important to me but my faith is in the human race, nature and science. I do not know how or why or when the world was started but the explanation that it was created by God seems to me, to be one of the most unlikely scenarios. Maybe something will happen to me to make me change my belief but the IPF experience so far for me, has had the opposite effect.
    When I was young I was encouraged to become a Christian and I did follow that path a little way but as I grew older I gave myself permission not to believe. It was hard but now my new “faith” makes everything very easy and uncomplicated. I do not fear death at all. I concentrate on management of my medical problems and giving and receiving love. I am thinking of ways to make my remaining time pleasant both for myself and those around me. I do not even feel guilty about leaving my dependents and loved ones without what ever support I am able to give them. Once I am gone I am gone though I a sure I will not be forgotten.
    I very much feel and appreciate your love and prayers for me and others like me. I know that many of the people who care for and love me are motivated by a faith similar to yours.

    • Hi Brian, thank you for your very lovely response. I’m am glad you have found peace with how you are living your life as you focus on giving and receiving love, and making your remaining time as pleasant as possible for you and your loved ones. Many blessings to you, Brian.

  8. Robin Ives says:

    I don’t know where I would be today without my faith in God and know that he is always there comforting us and helping us cope with my husband’s IPF. I also find not looking too far into the future helps on a daily basis. I just think – what do I need to do today!! Certainly plan for the big picture and then just take it day by day, week by week….

    • Hi Robin, Thanks so much for sharing with us. I’m so glad your faith is such a source of strength for you. Me too! I’m so glad that you have your own strategy for handling all you’re dealing with. What a great strategy!!! What a blessing you are!

  9. Joe Wolfer says:

    As a life long atheist I believe all this religious mumbo-jumbo is worthless. Stick to science based information if you want this site to have any value.

    • Hi Joe, Thanks for sharing your perspective. Several things that make this site unique and valuable are the publication of scientific studies, information about organizations and events who support PF, and columns by patients (like myself) who share about our experiences living with PF. I’m glad there is something for everyone.

  10. Sherry Strayer says:

    “Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. ”

    I had thought that this site was a place to find news and information about PF, but the overt religiosity of the posts and comments proves otherwise. Enjoy, but I will continue to look for a reliable, science-based source of information.

    • Hi Sherry, Thanks for sharing your perspective. It sounds like you are taking good care of yourself in pursuing a scientific only source of information about PF. It’s good to know what you need on this very difficult journey. I wish you the best, Kim

  11. Adriana says:

    Kim ,thank you for sharing your heart with us. As an IPF warrior I do hold on to my faith….sometime it’s all I got. My life has been challenging from the start,but I know God is always near and that brings me comfort. May God continue to bless you.
    Adriana

  12. Charles Whittington says:

    I just received my ipf diagnosis. I have been sick for 2 years without knowing the cause until a “second opinion” doctor identified it immediately. Without my faith in God I would be a broken, angry man. You have found a way to encourage others with your personal testimony. The most difficult thing for Christians is to lovingly accept the discussion of people outside the faith. We can’t argue them into agreement. They have to see something you have that they realize they need. Often that is when nothing else will work. Keep encouraging!

  13. Kerry says:

    Hi Kim,
    I appreciated this article–it is timely. Sunday will be one year since my father went to be with Jesus after his battle with PF. By the time we knew that he had PF, he was on a ventilator and never regained consciousness. One of the hardest parts for us is that we didn’t have a chance to talk about the disease with him. But, being the man of faith that he was, I believe he would have voiced some of the same things you shared, and I know he never once would have questioned God and said, “Why me?” We–his family–asked it a lot. But looking back now, I see little glimpses of how God took something so awful and used it for His good. We still miss him so much. But we will still say that our God is good! Please know that I prayed for you today and will continue to do so. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Hi Kerry,

      Thanks so much for your kind comment. I’m so sorry for your Dad’s passing. That one year anniversary is so hard. I so appreciate your prayers, and for sharing with me what a wonderful man of faith your Dad was. You must miss him so. Thanks for taking the time to encourage me 🙂 I’ll remember you and your family this Sunday…

  14. Ce Ce Matyac says:

    This article is like my attitude regarding IPF. My mother died from this disease, so I am aware of what to expect. My faith in God’s Will is not interrupted. I told my doctor that I understand that none of us are getting out of this world alive. I am 75 years old and have been coughing and choking for many years. Having a diagnosis of IPF was expected. We are not meant to live forever.

    I have the support and help of my husband Dan of 54 years, 2 wonderful sons, Tim & Scott, and 1 daughter Pamela, and many extended family members and friends. I chose to have a positive attitude about this disease. Negativity never helped anyone. My Catholic faith and Fr. Kevin Lutz along with prayers from many friends will keep me strong.

    God is good!

    • Hello CeCe, Thanks so much for your lovely post. I’m so glad we share an encouraging faith. I love your attitude, and am so glad you have such great support. Prayers and blessings to you.

  15. Judy Jacobs says:

    As a worshipper of our Most Sovereign GOD, and a PF Warrior, I made a few decisions at the time of my diagnosis. Number 1 is that as long as I have breath, I will continue to praise My Lord. (See Psalms 150, verse 6).
    Number 2 is that I refuse to let this disease define me. I allow my Creator to do that, and I simply carry out His will.
    Number 3 is that, because He created me with the gift of exhortation (encouraging others) I would continue to do that, especially those with PF.
    Number 4 is that, even at nearly 74, I will continue to work, at least part-time. Blessing my boss who allows me to come to work at 11:00 am.
    I continue to swim as far as possible each morning, as the Lord has set us in a most beautiful setting in Florida’s woods.
    I have a supportive husband and worship team at my church who allow me to still sing with them…it actually makes me feel better and improves my breathing.
    I continue to disciple others who want to know what a Christian is/does.
    I will not undergo a transplant at my age. Leave viable organs to people who will get more use from them.
    I know the Lord will be with me through this journey, and that Before too many years, I will get a lot of questions answered when we meet face to face….but, as Robert Frost said, “I have miles to go before I sleep.”
    Now, if anyone finds my way of dealing with this disease in any way offensive or political, I shall say in advance that that is not my intention. It is merely my response to the topic of this post.

    • Hi Judy…I so appreciate your comment! Amen!!! I share your perspective and attitude. So appreciate you sharing. Good for you for doing all you can to stay healthy and enjoy the things you love 🙂

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