What Can I Do?

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : Philippians 2:12-19

It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (v. 13)

Americans like to be in control, but there are some things you can and some you can’t
do with respect to Alzheimer’s disease. Dealing with this illness is a microcosm of the
larger picture of life provided in Philippians 2. Our very salvation, says Paul, the
essence of life itself, is something we work on, and also something only God can do. We
work at understanding the gospel, gratefully obeying God’s law, and praying for the
fullness of the Holy Spirit. God covers our sin, changes hearts, and makes us
wholeheartedly ready and willing to serve him.

There are some things we can do to avoid getting Alzheimer’s. Evidence points to the
helpfulness of staying mentally and physically active. But there are no guarantees, even
if you do the New York Times crossword puzzle and run five miles every day. When all is
said and done, Alzheimer’s is no respecter of persons. We also can have some control over
the end of our lives. A living will, carefully explained to those who will likely have to
make the decisions, can provide helpful instructions that honor the body as belonging to
God while not unnecessarily prolonging life simply because it can be done.

What God can do is assure us he will complete his work of redemption, and will never
leave us or forsake us, to the very end and beyond. We can trust him, especially when
things get out of our control.


Lord, help me live in a healthy, sensible way, and make good end of life decisions too. Amen.