Death is all over the news. So is life and courage.
For instance, you might have heard that Brittany Maynard chose to end her life Saturday with drugs provided by a doctor. She didn’t want to go through what might have been a difficult end-of-life experience due to her brain cancer. It’s not our place to judge, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have feelings about what she did.
I’m rarely speechless (surprise!), but this news almost did it to me. As a believer in God, I’m honestly grateful He numbers my days ( Job 14:5 ). He is in control ( Jude 1:24-25 ) and that’s fine with me. He chose when I entered the world (in the middle of a Milwaukee Braves baseball game, which my mom’s doctor liked to remind her of during every visit after my birth). I’ll let Him choose when I enter heaven.
Suffering is rarely chosen or desired. However, God designed us to benefit from challenges that can include suffering. We learn in His Holy Word ( Romans 5:3-4 ) that these are the times when we grow and mature. They’re when character and hope are strengthened. What if, when near the end of her life and while suffering, Brittany would have called out to her Creator? People can come to trust Him and know Him more intimately during His ordained times.
Have you heard about Maggie Karner? Maybe not, because those who decide which stories are newsworthy have apparently decided it wouldn’t be as popular. After all, decisions seem to be made based on what will go viral. Sadly, Maggie has the same cancer as Brittany. But, she’s made a different choice – to live each day God provides.
Maggie’s perspective humbles me:
God wants me to be comfortable in my dependence on Him and others, to live with Him in peace and comfort no matter what comes my way. As for my cancer journey, circumstances out of my control are not the worst thing that can happen to me. The worst thing would be losing faith, refusing to trust in God’s purpose in my life and trying to grab that control myself.
Read that sentence about “the worst thing” again. Wow!
Part of Maggie’s reasoning to live each day to its fullest was birthed during the months she and her sisters cared for their dad after he was paralyzed from the neck down in a tragic accident. She writes that “… caregivers get a chance to grow in compassion, responsibility, and selflessness as they care for those in need.”
Although she knows it won’t be easy for her three daughters, she wants “… my girls to learn servanthood and selflessness as they care for me.”
What a profound and gripping illustration of living for others and putting others first. Life is not just about us! Some would support that choosing to die is considerate of others. But, Maggie believes living benefits her daughters.
Then there’s the fabulous story of Lauren Hill, a college freshman basketball player who just played in her first and only college game because of her inoperable brain cancer. The NCAA moved up the game between her college and another just so she could play. What a beautiful decision! Over 10,000 people came out to support Lauren.
Lauren’s adventures in life and living are raising awareness for pediatric cancer research and giving many children a role model and hope. She inspires me. she’s living and she’s alive!
Life and death are real. Both of them. Choose life today. Really live. Really!