Lately the subject of death and suffering has reared its head among my facebook friends' discussions. Many expressed that they would not want to suffer extreme conditions such as terminal cancer or severe burns, or even certain genetic conditions which they feel are sentences of doom. They are passionate in their expression of sympathy for those who live with chronic pain. Many have boldly stated that it is unmerciful to allow suffering, that death would be better.
While no one would try to sell pain, or sign a clipboard to volunteer for root canal without Novocaine or even general anethesia, I have to challenge that sentiment. Is it really better to die and give up the hope that life offers just to escape? Do I even have to ask, is this a biblical view?
No, not biblical, and not even merciful. Proverbs 12:11 says that even the kindness of the ungodly is cruelty. People mean well to offer such prescriptions for pain, but let's look at the logical end of this. How much pain is too much? And what if you make that decision under the duress of a temporary but excruciating condition? What if you cannot speak for yourself, and that decision is made for you?
The picture tells it all: life reaches for hope. Life wants to press on, survive, and to fulfill its God given potential. Who among us can presume to dictate when a life is spent? Who among us dares to assign the value of a life, whether 100 years old or 21 weeks in the womb? How many children are too many? Why are there such glib remarks concerning the woman who has eight children, as though these precious ones somehow escaped God's plan and design? I am not addressing these questions to those without the hope of Christ. Truly those without the hope of the author of Life living on the inside of them can only prognosticate doom and gloom for these vulnerable ones.
The sad fact is, I am addressing the church. We who count ourselves children of a Father with no limits to His provision and grace. Can He not make a way for each of these, through pain, disadvantage, disability, poverty, and even abuse and neglect? God, the champion of life, affirms life every time. Do we not sing "God will make a way where there seems to be no way?" Why then, when it comes to these situations, do we cringe and yield ground, yielding precious lives to the reaper's sickle without a cry?
"I have set before you life and death, blessings and cursings. Choose life."