But I trusted in thee, O Lord; I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand . . .

                                                                                         Psalm 31:14-15


In the midst of my struggle to wellness I was given a reminder that there are others whose situations are much more dire than my own. Case in point: My sister. My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer almost eight years ago, but she did not choose to take the accepted medical route, which gave her a life expectancy of one year (she has a very aggressive cancer). For at least five of the last eight years she chose to go entirely vegetarian, citing the theory that cancer thrives on meat and sugar, and eliminating those offending articles from her diet. She used homeopathic remedies for medicine and never accepted chemotherapy in any way, shape, or form, though she has begun to rely on medical pain killers and steroids over the last two years.


Having seen how chemotherapy depleted my mother-in-law’s strength and energy before she died from breast cancer in 1996, I couldn’t say that I disagreed. After watching her decline, I’d come to the conclusion that she was as damaged by the chemo as she was by the cancer. It was an harrowing time, and I didn’t like going through it with her. It was the turning point of my life after she died though, because it made me truly aware of how brief life really is, and how little control we have over most of it. Our times truly are in our Maker’s hands, and that point was made unequivocally in my heart. We can remember our past. We can live in today. But tomorrow? Well, that might never come. It says in the Bible to say “God willing” we will go here or do that, but we can plan on nothing more. I took that lesson to heart then and have never let go of it since.


This morning (04/02) I have given over my sister’s ‘times’ into God’s hands. There can be no safer place for her, and being in the hospital doesn’t change that reality. Three days ago she was rushed to the emergency room because the cancer that had spread to her brain nearly two years ago was causing seizures even the steroids couldn’t control. The first hospital moved her to another bigger one, where they did ’emergency’ brain surgery (they really called it that) to try to relieve the brain swelling from all the seizures (03/30). As of last night, she has not regained consciousness. The floor doctor (on 03/31) said that the next 24 to 36 hours were crucial, and yesterday morning (04/01) an MRI showed brain activity, though she can not open her eyes or speak.


I am either delusional or I trust the God who holds my times in His hand as well as my sister’s. I don’t have to like where this is headed, but I have been through it before. Besides my mother-in-law, I also lost my Dad to cancer in 2002. It is different with parents though, and seeing my sister go through this has brought it into my generation too quickly. Worse, and not that there was a choice here, 03/30 was my sister’s birthday. I know the Lord knows that, because He was the one who formed her in the womb.


So, in the light of what we’ve all been given, TODAY I will continue to celebrate my sister’s fearfully and wonderfully made life.

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