Death With Dignity?

This week Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman facing a rare and debilitating form of brain cancer, chose to end her life. Maynard “suffered increasingly frequent and longer seizures, severe head and neck pain, and stroke-like symptoms. As symptoms grew more severe she chose to abbreviate the dying process by taking the aid-in-dying medication she had received months ago,” stated a spokesman for Compassion & Choices.

Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist who has battled ALS for over 20 years, commented on assisted suicide in 2006, saying, “I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”  Recently he has changed his position and feels those with terminal illness and pain should be able to end their lives as they see fit.  “We don’t let animals suffer, so why humans?” he told the BBC, noting that there should be adequate protections so that no one is condemned to die against their wishes.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, over 40,000 suicides were reported in 2012, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the US.  Suicides are nothing new but legalizing them is a growing change.  Many of the arguments supporting legal suicide seem plausible, especially when we hear such emotional stories. But emotions should not rule our will!  We must submit to the Will of God, of which most of the world has no knowledge.  “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are on the road to destruction. The god of this age has blinded the minds of those who don’t have faith so they couldn’t see the light of the gospel that reveals Christ’s glory” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Common English Bible, CEB).

An opponent of assisted suicide, Diane Coleman, President of Not Dead Yet, said this week, “Brittany Maynard’s story is incredibly heart-wrenching. When you look at assisted suicide based on one individual, it often looks acceptable. But when you examine how legalization affects the vast majority of us — especially those most vulnerable — the dangers to the many far outweigh any alleged benefits to a few.”

One fundamental point lacking in most arguments either for or against assisted suicide is this:  What is God’s Will?  We understand this world is ruled by Satan, and he imposes his will mercilessly upon it.  But that doesn’t negate God’s Will or His desire for humanity.  God alone wills who should live or die.  “The LORD! He brings death, gives life, takes down to the grave, and raises up!” (1 Samuel 2:6, CEB).

While Christ was alive on earth, He knew that His death had been pre-appointed.   He agreed to die, not with dignity or in comfort with loved ones. Instead He died a most undignified and painful death.  His brethren abandoned Him during His trials.  And during His last moments on earth, even God the Father separated Himself from His Son, “and about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” (Matthew 27:46).

Christ did not commit suicide, but He agreed with the Father as to the time and manner of His death. He gave the world opportunity—eternal life because of His sacrifice.  We owe the Creator nothing less than to live a life, like our elder brother, constantly fulfilling God’s Will. 

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