Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Life and Death

I'm sure you've heard about Brittany Maynard, the young woman who was afflicted with a horrific brain cancer and chose to "die with dignity." It's been fairly public, and lots of opinions are flying around extolling or condemning her choice.

I've also read quite a bit lately of another young woman, Lauren Hill, also suffering from brain cancer, who achieved her goal of playing basketball at the college level. The NCAA actually moved a game up two weeks so Lauren would be more likely to be able to play. She made the first basket of this NCAA season. She is deteriorating quickly, but she is living her days.

And I'm mulling over these two situations as more than two hundred people gather at our church, just across the yard, for the funeral of a beloved sister in Christ who died unexpectedly on Friday last week. She  was praising God at a revival meeting just two days prior to her death. (It is not custom here to bring children to funerals, or I would be there, too.)

I'm sure I'll surprise some folks when they read that I am in support of Brittany Maynard's right to choose her death. I disagree with her that it is the best choice, but I am in support of her right to make that decision. I don't believe that my (or anyone else's!) religious beliefs should dictate public policy.

Because I am Christian, I believe that God has ordained my days, that I will have His work to do here on Earth until my death. I don't consider suicide or "death with dignity" a mortal sin that prohibits a person from entering heaven, but I don't consider that God would require me to stay alive by any means possible, either.

So, in this considering of life and death, I find myself hoping that I don't ever have to face a terminal brain cancer. I've seen what it can do, and I don't want to go there. But, if my God ordains that road for me, I will do as Lauren Hill has done and try to live every single day I am given. I will attempt to encourage my family and friends with my faith in God's plan. Who knows what blessing my life could provide in my last days? Only God. And I will trust Him.

I find myself hoping for a death like that of my Christian sister whose funeral was held today. Not that I seek a high number of mourners, but that my mourners will be celebrating my promised resurrection.We are still sad at our loss, but we know she is with her God.

I want to live for my Lord, Jesus Christ. And I want to die for Him, too. I pray that all people facing terminal illnesses can find their strength in Him.


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