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‘Does God Want Me Dead?’

Judge publishes book about faith and diagnosis of ALS

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling can pinpoint specific times when he felt God was calling him to a higher purpose.

One of those times was Dec. 30, 2009, the day he says he told God he would “surrender all” and answer the call to do mission work abroad.

Another of those moments was in an airplane at 27,000 feet on a return trip from a mission trip to Honduras. Bowling says he felt, on Aug. 21, 2012, a “clear directive from God” to double his efforts in medical missions and ministering abroad.

It was only a few weeks after that return flight Bowling was diagnosed with ALS — commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — a progressive neurodegenerative disease for which there is currently no cure.

“I would soon learn my surrendering all was not as deep as I thought,” Bowling wrote in the first chapter of his book, which was recently published. “Realizing my life here on Earth was not going to last as long as I had expected, I began to see just how much I was holding on to. … I began to see God wanted me dead, at least, dead to this world.”

Bowling began writing, “Does God Want Me Dead? A Biblical Perspective on Pain, Suffering, Disease and Death” more than three years ago following his diagnosis. Dedicated to his wife, Donna, sons, Brandon and Jordan, and his parents, he said the book was originally meant just for them.

“I am also hopeful that this book could be helpful to anyone suffering loss,” Bowling said.

“Does God Want Me Dead?” is a combination of Bowling’s personal accounts of his missionary work, dealing with his diagnosis and prognosis and analyses of many Bible passages that attempt to answer the question presented in the title of the book.

He also uses some popular culture references. In an interview, Bowling referenced the movie “Troy,” staring Brad Pitt as Achilles, sharing this quote from the film:

“‘Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves, will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?’

“I share the quote from the movie, simply to say the book is not an effort for strangers to hear my name long after I am gone,” Bowling said. “Hopefully, my children and those people close to me can learn from my mistakes and troubles. However, I do believe all of us have the potential to make a positive impact on future generations far from our own. This can occur when we are able to instill godly values into our children and others that are close to us.”

The book is available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as the Jeremiah38.org site. The book is $20 and all the proceeds will be used for Jeremiah 38 Ministries in Lawrence County, with a smaller portion going to the ALS Association of Central and Southern Ohio.