Praising God for Epilepsy
By Andrew McChesney
Anna struggled with epilepsy since she was a small girl in Riga, Latvia. It wasn’t only about seizures. Epilepsy affected her emotions and her brain functions. Some days she just couldn’t focus. She longed to be healed.
The summer after she graduated from high school, the 19-year-old teen went to a psychic who claimed she could heal by channeling energy. But the epilepsy remained. When the psychic saw she could not help, she told Anna about another seemingly hopeless client who had found healing through a pastor’s prayer. The psychic gave Anna the pastor’s phone number.
“He will tell you a lot about his church and God, but don’t listen to him,” she said. “Just take the healing and leave. The rest of what he says is a lie.”
Anna called the pastor. In their phone conversation, she heard for the first time about the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They agreed to meet. At their second meeting, the pastor prayed for Anna. But the epilepsy remained.
Anna liked the pastor and accepted an invitation to attend Bible studies. Later that summer, she attended a small group meeting at the church. Then she went to a Sabbath worship service. “You know what?” she told her mother afterward. “I think the church is good.”
So, Anna’s mother went with her to church on Sabbath. A few months later, Anna was attending church with both her mother and father.
The next summer, Anna and her mother were baptized. A year later, her father was baptized. Then her grandmother and brother were baptized.
Over the years, many people have prayed for Anna. She has been anointed with oil. But the epilepsy has remained. Anna wondered why God had not healed her, but then it struck her. Like to the apostle Paul, who also prayed for relief, God was saying to her, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NKJV).
Now 30, Anna Rozenberga sees epilepsy as an enormous blessing. Since it is an illness that she must deal with every day, she has learned even more that she needs to trust God every day. Some Sabbath mornings she might feel that it is best to stay in bed, but then she remembers that she is scheduled to lead a Sabbath School class. So, she goes to church and trusts that God will pull her through.
Epilepsy also has helped her witness. The challenge has given her empathy for others. She doesn’t always mention her epilepsy when she first meets people, but she has found that being vulnerable about herself causes others to open up and be more ready to listen. “So my epilepsy has helped me spread the Word,” Anna says. “I am thankful for the challenges with my health.”
This quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will go to two projects in the Trans-European Division, including one in Latvia. Thank you for planning a generous offering this Sabbath.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org