What’s it like when you get the news that you have an incurable illness? Despite eating well and being fit, Saddleback’s Karate Ministry leader, Manny Johnston knew something was wrong. “Simple movements and tasks felt as though I was moving in quicksand,” he says. “Along with the physical issues were a marked slowing of speech, stuttering, difficulty expressing my thoughts, and memory recall.” In 2014 came the diagnosis, Parkinson’s, for which there is no cure.
“Karate training can be beneficial for people who suffer with Parkinson’s,” he said. “Karate develops the mind, body, and spirit, and it has also strengthened my walk with Christ. That walk has been the cornerstone of my daily experience to thrive in spite of the diagnosis. If I had not received the grace of Christ, I don’t know how I would have dealt with this new challenge in my life,” he added.
“Three times Paul pleaded with the Lord to take his affliction away from him. But Jesus said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, Paul exclaimed that he would boast all the more gladly in his weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest on him. Paul added, “That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. “
The Karate master experienced the same lesson saying, “I have learned not to depend on my own strength but to draw on the unlimited strength from Christ.”
For others struggling with chronic illness, we encourage you to meditate on scripture. Philippians 4: 13 is a good one to start with: “I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.” Say it over and over every day. It will give you the vigor you need to cope with what ails you, as Manny experienced.
The Daniel Plan is also helpful. Its emphasis on focus promotes the practice of using your brain and the exercise segment is essential to basic fitness. The Support Groups help one cope as well.
“Jesus wants us to love and help each other,” Manny confided. “When your health is a daily battle, the Daniel Plan ministry can help support you on all fronts: faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends.”