Living until We Die

Karen Bables

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:50-56 It was sin that made death so frightening. (v. 51 Message) Having lived with life-shortening health issues for several years, I have wrestled with the question of how to face life when death looms large. How do we live life knowing that it will end? In Mystical Hope, Cynthia Bourgeault reminds us that Jesus told us we are on a path of “dying before we die.” What does that mean? It means that God the Father …

Trading Coins

Karen Bables

Read: Psalm 33 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death. (vv. 18-19) In an interview titled “The Miracle in Front of You” that appeared in the January 2016 issue of The Sun magazine, pediatric oncologist Dr. Raymond Barfield says, “I think of each day as a gold coin that you are required to trade for something. You’ll never get …

When I Am the Caregiver

Karen Bables

Read: Matthew 6:26-34 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (v. 27 NIV) Before I had cancer, I was the caregiver for my husband, who has been ill for years. As his caregiver, my mantras included: “You need to eat more.” “Don’t you think you need to call the doctor?” “If you get out of bed for a while, you will feel better.” None of these comments were received well. And so, of …

A Matter of Style

Karen Bables

Read: Proverbs 17:22; Psalm 30 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Prov. 17:22) English professor Philip Simmons suffered from a degenerative disease called ALS, which affects the nervous system and causes muscle problems. He died at age 44, just months after the publication of his book Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life. Simmons reminds me that I don’t get to choose how I “fall”; none of us do. What …

Learning to Ask for Help

Karen Bables

Read: Romans 12:1-8 In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (v. 5 NIV) The more people who found out I had cancer, the more offers for help I received. People like to have something they can do for me: meals, chores, driving. For a while I tried to find ways to turn down these offers with creative ways to keep doing everything myself. However, pain and exhaustion are insistent and instructive …

Learning to Accept Powerlessness

Karen Bables

Read: Genesis 1:28-31; 3:1-14 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (1:31) Who wants to admit to powerlessness? Surrendering control to God suggests capitulation, throwing in the towel, waving the white flag. Often, when Christians see the word “powerlessness,” they read it as weakness and helplessness. The truth is that as we turn over the reins to God, we come closer to the original intention of God’s creation. Harmony was the way of …