When to Die

“Never give up! Never Surrender!” Jason Nesmith, Galaxy Quest

Brittany Maynard is 29. She’s an attractive woman with a handsome husband. I know. I saw the pictures in The London Daily Mail Online. She is the subject of an article about her committing suicide next month. It’s all planned out.

Except I guess I’m not supposed to call it suicide. She has terminal cancer. Brain cancer. She and her family moved to Oregon, because it’s one of five states that have so-called “death-with-dignity” laws. She wants to die before the cancer really gets going, before it really gets nasty. The article headlines that she is a “fearless newlywed” who was diagnosed last January.

The doctors originally gave her 5-10 years to live, “but then in April Maynard was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma, which will likely take her life within six months.” So as of this month she’s on borrowed time, right?

“Despite increasing pain, seizures and growing weakness, Maynard has remained active, traveling around the country with her family and best friend to try and visit as many places on her bucket list as possible before November 1 – the day after her husband’s birthday.
So far, Brittany has journeyed to Alaska and took a trip to Yellowstone National Park with husband Dan, but she still hopes to see the Grand Canyon before the end. “

So she’s working on living. For the most part. Good for her! The only problem I have is this whole checking-out thing. Before things get really bad, people just punch their own ticket instead of letting things run their course and going when God decides.

If you’ve read previous articles of mine, you know I advocate that we need to be on the lookout for good deeds to be done. The bible tells us to be hospitable to strangers, as some have entertained angels unawares, that we should look for the good deeds God has prepared in advance for us to do.

If you cut your own life short, you may well have cheated yourself – and someone else – of a good deed God prepared for you to do. Even if it’s just the inspiration of you battling till the end that makes their lesser struggles doable. But you gave up and left before it was time. Brittany is doing that with her travels. She’s an inspiration to live the best she can. But then she plans to stop doing that before it’s her time.

Life is precious in all its stages. It isn’t for us to blow the whistle on the game. If you read my article, “Father Knows Best,” we are cheapening life all around. First it’s unborn people. We call it abortion, a procedure. Then in Denmark they’ve started killing people who are already born and are old or retarded. They look at a mentally ill person and say, “That’s so sad. She has no quality of life. Let’s kill her. And by the way, it’s less expensive.” It’s true. It was my last post. Go read it. I’ll wait.

You’re back? So you can see that we are killing off our population with whatever reasoning we make up for ourselves. And we use such comforting words: death-with-dignity, quality of life, abortion, procedures, health care (isn’t that ironic?), or whatever euphemism we can attach to make ourselves feel better. We started with unborn people, whom we refer to with the conscience-salving term “fetus” as if he or she isn’t human. Now In Denmark they’re doing it with elderly and mentally disabled people.

Shakespeare once wrote, “I never heard a corpse ask how it got so cold.” That’s death. A cold corpse in a grave. Or sometimes a dumpster. We’re kidding ourselves with all of our rationale, all of our platitudes. Killing is killing and suicide is suicide. I’m not old, nor am I deranged. But life gets pretty depressing sometimes. Maybe in the future that’ll be enough justification to pull the plug. If I can just find the right comforting words to couch it in.

Lest it be said that I’m talking from the cheap seats, if you read previous articles you’ll know I’ve been at death’s door three times now. I watched my grandmother die from pancreatic cancer when I was in college. It’s one of the nastier forms. She was in the bed in the back room where we looked after her. On her birthday I tried to cheer her up and asked what she’d like for her birthday. She asked to die.

Here’s where it got rough. My high school friend who had lost his parents was living with us too. His dad’s gun was upstairs in my closet. Bullets too. Anyone out there think I was not tempted?

I didn’t, of course. I knew it just wasn’t right. That was the only time she asked. She kept up the fight, although there were definitely days when it was just plain rotten. No one liked watching her suffer. But that’s sin, my friends.

We finally took her to the hospital where they made her as comfortable as possible. We were all home one evening when they called to tell us she’d “taken a turn for the worse.” We’d missed her passing, but when that call came to say she’d died, I swear to you the house actually sighed. I’ll never forget it.

St. Paul wrote of his yearning to leave this mortal tent and to be fully clothed with an immortal one. He spoke at least twice that I can immediately recall of wanting to be with Christ, but he recognized his duty to God’s children on earth. He was never suicidal; just longing for the time when God decided he’d done enough.

Even though sin has pretty well mucked things up here on Earth, life is still a precious gift from God. There are times when it seems not worth living, times when we wonder what the point is. But it is still a gift. The gift is an eternal one for those that believe in Jesus as their Saviour. Then we will be where God Himself will wipe every tear from our eyes.

Isn’t that worth waiting for? Isn’t that worth the struggle to live right and not cheapen the gift by making decisions that belong to God? Sin calls for our death. That call is not ours. Jesus calls for our resurrection. All we have to do is say yes.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

4 thoughts on “When to Die

  1. Great piece again my friend. Got is the quality of our life. Christ died for us to live both now and when He calls us home. I just pray that when the time comes I can travel that road to eturnity with His presence. love and mercy leading me to Home.

  2. Pingback: Making Euthanasia Fun! | Jeffrey H. King's Blog

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