|Have we lost hope in God?|
|Written by Marie Bowen|
What do cultural conflicts over abortion and assisted suicide reveal about the state of Christian faith?
On my mind this week has been the overwhelming need for the Church of Jesus to walk out the hope of the Gospel which lives in us! Hope in God is needed precisely in the issues that cause conflict—abortion and assisted suicide are two--where the Christian message of hope in Jesus Christ and the secular value of autonomy collide.
The Good News -- that the Son of God came into our world, entered the womb of Mary, was born, lived a perfect life, taught radical life changing truths, willingly submitted to an excruciating death, and took your sin and mine and our death penalty to give us life—has changed everything on the planet. It is our best, and really only, reason for hope. Without Jesus the nothingness of death is everyone's future. But simply believing in Him nets life forever! Despair during suffering is inevitable unless I believe God is greater than my circumstances and then Love's comfort, Love's hope is more real than the data input of my five senses.
The stark contrast between those with Gospel hope and those without Gospel hope was made clear in the personal YouTube expressions of two women early this month. Brittany Maynard and Maggie Karner both received the same dire diagnosis –grade 4 Glioblastoma—each with a prognosis of 6 months to live. On November 1st Brittany Maynard ended her life by taking a lethal prescription drug provided by her physician. She, her husband, and her parents moved to Oregon earlier in the year so that she would have a legal right to assisted suicide. Oregon is one of only five States in which patients may choose an early death by prescription drugs. "The worst thing that could happen to me," Brittany explained her choice to end her life, "would be to have my autonomy taken away from me." How very tragic to hold no better hope than early death!
Maggie Karner, wrote a letter to Brittany. In it she expressed understanding. "Honestly I do get it," she said to Brittany describing cancer as a "beast ready to pounce and take away our faculties." But Maggie, a woman of faith that I have personally met, sees each second of life as a gift. She describes her family's experience when a accident paralyzed her Dad from his neck down. Her dad could do nothing but talk, yet she describes a "precious time just soaking up the presence of our dad. I never had that kid of candor and intimacy with my dad before. Those days our family grew. . .they were a gift my dad gave to us."
"Don't let cancer get one more second of your life," she begged Brittany. "Allow your family the gift of caring for you in your cancer." We haven't squeezed every drop of life left in us yet. Let's choose life for as long as we've got it," she told Brittany. She videotaped herself reading the letter and posted it on Facebook and YouTube in response to Brittany's public declaration of her impending assisted suicide.
Bottom line: our lives are not our own and we were never intended to have control over the manner and time of our death. When we come to our time of death there can be no more glorious peace than to personally know and ultimately trust the God who controls not only the moment of our death but the eternity beyond.