My Sister is Doing Chemo while God is Busy Numbering her Hairs

Josh de Keijzer
7 min readApr 9, 2018

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I know this sounds outrageous, but these were the words that popped-up in my head when I heard that my sister has breast cancer: my sister is doing chemo while God is busy numbering her hairs. That’s what Jesus promises in the Gospels, isn’t it (See Lk 12:7). I wondered what God would do next when my sister would grow bald as a result of the devastating effect of a medicine that is almost worse than the disease itself. Is God just going to stand by as the mayhem evolves?

Adding Insult to Injury

The words of Jesus, meant as a comforting reassurance not to be anxious about the insecurities life brings, returned as a taunt. A taunt against the one who has cancer, since counting hairs is like adding insult to injury. But also a taunt against Jesus himself as one who promises pointless things. Things like a heavenly Father who has numbered our hairs. Sure, even in the absence of illness, the thinning out of hair signals the impending assault of old age. “Your hairs are numbered” sounds eerily like “your days are numbered.” Thank you for reminding us!

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Josh de Keijzer

Writes at joshdekeyzer.com. Writer, researcher, lecturer, Bonhoeffer scholar. Ph.D. in Philosophical Theology.