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Today's News 
CHRISTIAN NEWS 

Tarrying with Christ and the fearful dying.

For years and for complicated reasons, my friend of solitary temperament suffered privately with cancer and its harsh remediations. Pride, pain, denial, fatigue—all contributed to her debilitation—and fear, toward the end, once the medical professionals assaulted her denial and spoke only of comfort.

She said she wasn't afraid of death but of dying, not of meeting her Maker but of traversing the valley, crossing the bar. She had come to the end of her human resources and knew she had to throw herself toward the mercy of God, or maybe it was a more passive letting herself fall into the abyss of grace.

In an attempt to alleviate her fear, I left home somewhat impulsively at 7:30 in the morning to visit her, newly embedded in a residential hospice. She was heavily medicated, not speaking or eating, and hardly drinking, receiving no tubal hydration. I expected to return home within the hour, but when I found her alone, I stayed until early afternoon, when her family arrived.

I sang hymns and gospel songs that I had memorized as a child, sometimes improvising new lines. Though it was Lent, I sang the off-season Gloria and the all-season Sanctus: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord." In an alcove, I found coffee refills. I hadn't thought to eat breakfast, and by 10:30 a.m., I was hungry. In silences between songs, I carried on a conversation with myself.

Just go out and find a snack.

No. Remember Jesus' Gethsemane line: "Can you not watch with me for one hour?" Or with a dying friend for one morning?

I held off, claiming the consciously chosen hunger as a form of discipline, though I wasn't sure why my discomfort held any meaning beyond my body's chemistry.

I've fasted only ...

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Tarrying with Christ and the fearful dying.

For years and for complicated reasons, my friend of solitary temperament suffered privately with cancer and its harsh remediations. Pride, pain, denial, fatigue—all contributed to her debilitation—and fear, toward the end, once the medical professionals assaulted her denial and spoke only of comfort.

She said she wasn't afraid of death but of dying, not of meeting her Maker but of traversing the valley, crossing the bar. She had come to the end of her human resources and knew she had to throw herself toward the mercy of God, or maybe it was a more passive letting herself fall into the abyss of grace.

In an attempt to alleviate her fear, I left home somewhat impulsively at 7:30 in the morning to visit her, newly embedded in a residential hospice. She was heavily medicated, not speaking or eating, and hardly drinking, receiving no tubal hydration. I expected to return home within the hour, but when I found her alone, I stayed until early afternoon, when her family arrived.

I sang hymns and gospel songs that I had memorized as a child, sometimes improvising new lines. Though it was Lent, I sang the off-season Gloria and the all-season Sanctus: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord." In an alcove, I found coffee refills. I hadn't thought to eat breakfast, and by 10:30 a.m., I was hungry. In silences between songs, I carried on a conversation with myself.

Just go out and find a snack.

No. Remember Jesus' Gethsemane line: "Can you not watch with me for one hour?" Or with a dying friend for one morning?

I held off, claiming the consciously chosen hunger as a form of discipline, though I wasn't sure why my discomfort held any meaning beyond my body's chemistry.

I've fasted only ...

Continue reading...

This week on Thursday is for Thinkers, Carol Pipes shares how God's love for us in Christ motivates us to love others.

I met Mr. Balentine in the summer of 1993. A group of 10 high school students and their leaders had been sent to Mr. Balentine's to make much-needed repairs to his house, which sat in a secluded cove of the Appalachian foothills. What started as a simple project turned into a major rebuild. The only thing keeping the front wall attached the house was a thin layer of shingles overhead. The entire house had to be razed and rebuilt.

At the end of the project, Mr. Balentine walked into his "new" home. Tears in his eyes, he remarked that his family could finally return and all live together. His words are forever etched in my memory: "You've not only restored my house, you've restored my dignity."

That summer and many mission trips later have opened my eyes to the hurting and neglected neighbors who live near and far. We live in a broken world. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, creation and humanity were scarred. Enter broken relationships. Deceit. Hunger. Corruption. Poverty. Disease. Envy. War. These are only a few of the manifestations of our broken world. But God is in the restoration business.

God did whatever it took to make things right between us and Him, ultimately giving His Son as a ransom for our very lives. God broke through the ceiling between heaven and earth. His Son lowered Himself to live among us only to be raised up on a cross. He took the burden of every sin—past, present, and future—and burdened Himself for our sake. Through a relationship with Him, we are restored and made right with God.

When God raised Jesus from the dead, He proved there's no wound He can't heal. There's no brokenness He can't mend. The gospel has the ...

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39696 Highway 41 | PO Box 2403 | Oakhurst, CA 93644 | PH: 559-683-6742 | FAX: 559-683-6110