Sustainer

Dr. J. Kenneth Grider would often say something in his pre-class prayer that has stuck with me.

Father, we thank you for holding things together, and for holding the right things together.

God is the sustainer of the cosmos, just as he is the creator. He holds things together.

I’ve been thinking of this concept in relation to my illness. I expected to be dead by now. I was asked to sign a DNR form a long time ago. Most people with the type of bone marrow failure I have would have succumbed by now. Blood transfusions would have failed to keep them going.

But for me, blood transfusions every two weeks have the same result every time: the ability to go on for two more weeks. I use up a unit of red cells every week, just as predictably as you can calculate the range your car will go on a tank of gas.

Of course, my levels are still very low and my activities must be curtailed from what I was accustomed to before. But the point is that I’m still alive and no one can guess how long this situation might go on.

This is not a miracle. But I can see the sustaining God at work in keeping me alive and kicking (only a little bit). Am I wrong about that?

I’m not one of those who sees God in everything that happens. I certainly don’t look for God’s purpose in illness because I don’t blame him for it. I also am a bit reluctant to look at my own situation in any kind of illustrative way.

But being sustained by God makes sense to me, in light of scripture and experience.

So, if God is extending my life through the natural means of regular blood transfusions, I have a couple of responses in mind:

  1. I should stop dreading those Wednesdays I spend most of the day in the cancer center and treat them as a blessing. I will give that a try, but no promises.

  2. I should not just bag the idea of being used by God for the rest of the time I am alive. I should try to find something useful to do for him.

This is my thought today. I could still die before the day is out. But as Peter Grainger says, through his character Detective Sergeant Smith, “It’s not how much time you have, but what you do with the time you have.”

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