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Articles: Family and Life
God's Answer to the "Why Me?" Question by Rich Rodriguez

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On May 8, 2006 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Although diabetes runs on both sides of my family, it was still a shock to learn I had it too. Because of this, I struggled with many questions.

Why did God let me become diabetic? Why did He allow this disease that could cost me my eyesight, a limb, maybe my life? It's natural to ask the "why" question at a shattering time like this, but the events surrounding my diagnosis have instead made me grateful for God's perfect timing.

In late April I was suddenly let go from a temporary job. No advance warning, no exit interview, I was just told the assignment was over. The next week I was at the L.A. Works career center in Irwindale reading the online job sites when I saw a flyer for a free health fair at San Dimas Hospital, including glucose screenings. With my family history of diabetes, and some free time on my hands, I went to the fair to get that screening. My glucose level was abnormally high. I went to my doctor the following week for the full test, and that's when I got the official word… I was diabetic.

I didn't ask for diabetes. But then again nobody put a gun to my head and forced me to drink that Coke or eat that donut. My poor eating habits contributed as much to this disease as my family DNA, if not more. And yet God, in His amazing grace and mercy, engineered the above series of events to save my life - at least that's what I believe. Had I not lost my old job, I never would have gone to that career center, where I saw that flyer for the health fair, where I got that glucose test, which sent me to the doctor, who told me I was diabetic, and then prescribed the medicines, diet and exercise to make me well!

Do you see a chain reaction here, folks? I'd still be slurping and chomping my way to a stroke or coma had the Great Physician not intervened in a way I couldn't imagine! Why He intervened in my situation, when I know of others not so fortunate, I don't know. I'm just SO thankful He did anyway.

The story of Joseph, where he was sold into slavery by his brothers, thrown into prison, and ultimately promoted to prime minister of Egypt to save the nation from a seven-year famine has a lot more meaning to me now. What man had meant for evil, God meant for good. Just as a series of seemingly unrelated events worked to save the lives of the Egyptians and the family of Israel, God did the same on a much smaller scale to save mine.

All I can say is wow.

As of October 2011, my diabetes is now under control. I was taken off Glyburide in 2007 because it caused dangerously sharp drops in my glucose levels late in the afternoon. I initially lost 30 pounds and took four inches off my waistline. But after being laid off around Christmas 2009 and being out of work for 18 months, I fell into depression and gained all the weight back. In 2011 I started making a concerted effort to slim down and have again lost 15 pounds.

Rich Rodriguez at 4-mile mark of 2011 Great Aloha RunI now wear prescription eyeglasses, which is strictly for nearsightedness. I have some damage to my retinas as a result of diabetes, but according to my eye doctor it's a natural occurrence and not a major concern. Nevertheless, I accept it as a consequence for not taking care of myself when I was younger.

I also now have a healthy appetite for fruits and veggies through changes in my diet. In the process I have lost my appetite for all things deep fried, which has disappointed some of my friends but I take it all in stride.

I have also begun competing in local 5K and 10K runs, including the Chapman University 5K Walk/Run and flying to Hawaii for the Great Aloha Run in Honolulu in 2011 and 2012. Again, all I can say is wow... or more like wowzers.

For more info on diabetes, including symptoms, testing and management, visit the American Diabetes Association.