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December 06, 2019

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Brad

I do have a good number of close friends who struggle with ME / FM / CFS without reprieve and I would agree with most of your conclusions. However, the facts of the story in the case were verified medically (both the diagnosis and the healing) and the incurable in this was healed. I'm calling that a miracle. When one person experiences a miracle, this creates a new problem ... why not everyone? Is God arbitrary? Are the unhealed to blame? Neither. There's a mystery here that parallels the Christmas story, which was no doubt wonderful but leaves others continuing to cry out, "How long?" and I continue to grieve with them. I wonder if you are reading more into the story than I am. My only conclusion is that SOMETIMES, waiting sees fulfillment. That's all. I can't make any further inferences than that. I've seen enough incurable cases healed to know they happen and too few to know that there's a formula. I acknowledge that it's easier to pretend no one ever gets healed. It's also not honest. If I'm hearing you right, you'd need to act as if the story is not true. That may be easier and more consistent and convenient to believe. I just don't get to do that. What I'm left with is a lot of weeping over the unhealed and the occasional sign that this disease will not have the last word.

Claudia Heath

Dear Brad Jersak,

I am writing to you to let you know that your article ''Advent, Sometimes Waiting is hard" is misguided in its inclusion of Melanie's story to illustrate your othewise perfectly reasonable message to your followers about advent.

You may not be aware of the persistent and damaging stigma that has been experienced by people with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia worldwide resulting in shaming, guilt and even suicides, due in large part to the unsubstantiated belief that it may be a psychological condition and/or one which can be reversed with positive thinking and exercise. This story only adds to that stigma.

ME is in fact a biomedical condition like MS, without cure, that has no more than a 5% recovery rate rarely if ever reported to be achieved in an instant. Reports of 'complete' recovery which Melanie apparently experienced, turn out typically to be remissions followed by relapses.

I think it would have been better for the millions of people living with ME with or without faith in the miracles of Jesus, to have used the example of an incurable illness which is NOT contested, such as cancer, for a miracle recovery story from faith in Jesus.

This article, which was emailed to me by a family member who should know better, has caused huge pain to me, as a carer for my son who has suffered severely from ME for 12 years, with a prognosis expecting no recovery. In this scenario, acceptance is as important as faith. False hope is frequently corrosive and dangerous.

My son's illness is not due to lack of faith, or insufficient faith, or lack of empathy and prayer, as Melanie was fortunate to receive, but rather complete lack of treatments, due to lack of funding and the misrepresentation of the illness for decades. If he were to read this article, I dread to think of how it would affect his deteriorating mental health.

I hope you now understand and will consider the likely impact of publishing this story on ME communities like my family, rather than only the unwitting faith communities to which it was addressed. A story which educates your readers on the facts about ME and Fibromyalgia would be more helpful to those who suffer from them rather than misusing these illnesses to glorify God.

https://www.meassociation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/MEA-M.E.-Factsheet.pdf



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