Rev. Roberts relies on faith and familyThe Rev. Donald L. Roberts was reluctant to write a book. But after much encouragement from family and friends and despite seemingly insurmountable limitations, he determined to share his story and bring hope to others in times of turmoil.
The Rev. Donald L. Roberts was reluctant to write a book. But after much encouragement from family and friends and despite seemingly insurmountable limitations, he determined to share his story and bring hope to others in times of turmoil.
“The writing of this book forced me to think again what it was like before I got sick,” Roberts said. “That was painful, but it forced me to crystallize my deepest thoughts into words. That helped me to cope with this illness.”
On Sept. 9, 1995, Roberts was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
ALS is a fatal, incurable neuromuscular illness.
Roberts describes his symptoms beginning with two fingers in his left hand and eventually progressing to his entire body.
Unable to move, speak, or even breathe on his own, Roberts wrote “Words of Hope” using only his eyes and a letter board — dictating the book’s forward and the story of his disease, one letter at a time.
“Words of Hope” is a collection of devotions Roberts wrote during the course of ministry at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in North Mankato, Minn., where he served after leaving First Lutheran Church in Red Wing in 1989.
Roberts shares his painful journey from a once full and active life through the devastation of Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Copies of the book are available at First Lutheran.
“This illness has been a kind of alchemist for me,” Roberts said. “My hope is that this book will help others experiencing difficult times to see their difficulties like wise. I don’t mean to minimize the difficulties that people experience. For me, it took 13 years of this illness to refine me. By reading this book, maybe others will take less time.”