Fear of Death
When I was 7, I attended the first funeral that I remember. The somber faces, the quiet tears, the dreary rain, all of it startled my young soul into questions surrounded with a bewildered fear. Death itself no longer makes me fearful because I know Jesus, but the questions have multiplied. Questions in “grey areas” surround the many scenarios of death.
Dying with Dignity
The first time I heard about an assisted suicide, or a death with dignity, was hearing the story of 29 year old Brittany Maynard who chose to end her life in order to save her family from watching her die a slow and painful death from brain cancer. In order to do it, she moved from California to Oregon, one of the few states that offer physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for the terminally ill. Since her death in 2014, California became the fifth state in the United States to legalize PAS with Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and Montana preceding it. Reading Maynard’s story in her own words, I was tempted to believe that her choice was okay. After all, she was dying anyway, and cancer is ugly in the final stages.
Me Before You
A new film came out this past summer. You may have heard of it. I haven’t watched it myself, but the storyline is devastating. The main character is paralyzed and wants to kill himself under the assisted suicide laws in another country. His caregiver falls in love with him and tries to convince him life is worth living. He falls in love with her, but chooses to die in the end because he declares he cannot live the rest of his life in a wheelchair. “Me Before You” is about one person putting himself before another. Fitting title. While this story is fiction, it depicts an attitude of selfishness and narcissism which is rampantly becoming a part of our society.
Your Way or the Highway
Burger King changed its slogan from “Have it Your Way” to “Be Your Way” a couple years ago. Why? Because they wanted to remind people that “they can and should live how they want anytime. It’s ok to not be perfect… Self-expression is most important and it’s our differences that make us individuals instead of robots.” This quote is enough to make me pull out my soap box for the subject of individualism, but I’ll spare you. (You’re welcome.) The above quote puts into words the attitude and actions of many. Life is about doing things your way and on your own terms. This is fleshly, through and through. Having things your way, and being yourself your own way is against everything Scripture teaches about what the Christian life is about. While the world is seeking its own agenda, the Christian is seeking Christ in life and death. The Christian knows that his life is not his own. And in knowing this, he surrenders himself to his Creator, the Sustainer of life.
Evolution proclaims that we evolved from nothing; the strong survive and there is nothing beyond this life. The Bible declares that we have been created by a Creator who has a plan for us as individuals. A plan that is not limited to our years here on earth, but extends throughout all eternity. Death is the only thing that separates us from this life and the next. When I imagine what it must be like to see the world through the belief system of evolution (or any system that is not of the one true God), I can begin to understand why Brittany Maynard and others have chosen to end their lives. I can also begin to see why people advocate for their assumed right to choose a government approved death. These individuals believe they answer to no one; and because they are deceived into thinking that they have no Creator, they believe their lives are their own to do with as they please. But they are sadly mistaken, because there is a God who they will answer to on Judgment day (Revelation 20:11-15). This God that they are ignoring is the only one who should decide when and how a person will die. We are His creation, and as such we do not have the liberty of saying when we will come into this world. And neither should we, even though we have the ability, make the decision when we will leave. (Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 18:6)
A warrior fights. A coward surrenders. A coward idolizes a warrior, but a warrior despises a coward. The two cannot dwell in the same place. Yet a surrendered warrior is what Christ calls us to be. The desire to live is strong, and I believe it is God-given. Death, while not feared by those who know Jesus, is not of God. God is the opposite of all things pertaining to death. He is all about life! And life abundant (John 10:10). Yet this incredible life He calls us to is through the means of death; death to self and the flesh. This is the only death we should choose while living the life God has for us.
“I have been crucified with Christ;
it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
|Linda Coblentz is a young wife seeking to encourage Christians to be true followers of Christ. Raised in Wisconsin, she spent a couple years in Sinaloa, Mexico. She also spent time in Indiana before getting married in central Ohio. She believes the greatest thing a Christian can do is to do everything as if it was to Christ Himself, even in the menial task of day to day living.