“We know what it is to lose health and wealth and reputation, but what is the loss of all things compared with the loss of the soul?”-D. L. Moody.
I realize my title is a BIT morbid, but hang with me for a minute. If you haven’t heard, Brittany Maynard, a beautiful 29 year-old woman who is battling cancer with a stage 4 brain tumor is planning to end her life on November 1st. She is newlywed who recently moved to Oregon with her husband, mother, and step-father so that she could take advantage of the state’s “Death with Dignity Act”. This would allow Brittany to end her suffering by taking medications that will allow her to die from something other than suffering in pain from her brain tumor and the complications that would result.
“I don’t want to die but I am dying,” Maynard tells PEOPLE in a new interview. “My [cancer] is going to kill me, and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So to be able to die with my family with me, to have control over my own mind, which I would stand to lose – to go with dignity is less terrifying.”
While I have my opinions on this story, that is not the point of my blog. My heart absolutely aches for this girl and I’ve thought about her many times day and night and prayed for her this past week once I heard about her situation. I walked closely with my cousin, Tess who battled cancer for 7 years while we were kids. I remember the pain and the suffering that she faced and how hard it was for my aunt to walk through. It’s horrible and I can’t remotely comprehend having a brain tumor like Brittany so I’m not saying this to be insensitive, but I’d say that dying of a brain tumor is not the worst way that you can die.
A theme for some of our denomination’s missions work in Africa has been centered on this concept of “Lostness”. I wrote about it a little bit last year here. In short, there are many conditions in which a person can die particularly as we look at Africa. There are diseases like Ebola that are prominent in the news right now along with AIDS and other various diseases. There is extreme poverty and unsanitary and unsafe living conditions that many are faced with. However, even as horrible as any one of the above mentioned conditions are, the absolute worst condition for a person to die from is being separated from Jesus Christ.
What has deeply troubled me about Brittany’s story more than her terrifying medical diagnosis or her controversial decision to end her life, is a statement she made about her death.
“When my suffering becomes too great, I can say to all those I love, “I love you; come be by my side, and come say goodbye as I pass into whatever’s next.”-Brittany Maynard.
“Into whatever is next” indicates to me that she sees no hope for her eternal future. That she has no assurance that Jesus Christ is alive, that He died for her, and that she can spend eternity with Him. I realize that I am stepping on some toes here and some people will disagree with this blog, but that’s ok :-) While I don’t want to judge if she knows Jesus for certain, her words seem to indicate she doesn’t have an assurance. I pray that she does. I pray that if she doesn’t at this moment, that she will. I pray that before she dies from either medicine, brain tumor, or else, that she comes to a TRUE PEACE in her soul that can only come from salvation in Jesus Christ.
And I pray the same for all who are lost. All who don’t know Jesus are truly in the worst state possible. For those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and live rightly for Him, there is an assurance of where we will step “into next”. We have a HOPE that this world and these present sufferings are not our home. That we will live forever with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit in Heaven forever where there is no more tears or pain. One can die naked, one can die blind, one can die poor, or one can even die of a brain tumor, but if that person knows Him, they die in peace of spirit.
The worst way to die is not being naked, blind, poor, or even of a brain tumor or Ebola. The worst way to die is without the peace of knowing where we are going eternally.
Brittany Maynard thinks that the best way to die is as she stated above, with her loved ones nearby and peacefully in her sleep. She wants to be able to control the timing and forbid the horrors of what the tumor could do to her body. I think everyone if they thought about it would choose to die peacefully and surrounded by those we love. My cousin did this even though she was in great pain. Yet even if we were all assured that we wouldn’t be in pain when we die, that doesn’t assure us we will step into a pain-free peaceful eternity. If we are without Christ, our eternal life (which is FOREVER unlike our physical one) will be anything but pain-free and peaceful. Since we don’t know how, when, and where we will die, the best way to die is to know that you’ve made Jesus the Lord of your life.
Hebrews 9:27 says, “And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment”
For those who know Jesus, we will live eternally with Him after our physical death. There is a hope available to everyone no matter what we are faced with that we can call on Jesus and be born again in spirit.
If you are suffering right now, I pray healing over you reading this in every area; that physically your body would be healed, that your emotions would be healed, and that your mind would be at peace. I pray that no matter what you’re facing today, that you would know that there is HOPE in Jesus Christ. If you’ve never made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, I invite you to pray this simple prayer;
Jesus, I acknowledge that I have sinned against You. I believe that You died for me, that You rose again, and that You are in Heaven. I want to live for You on this earth and live with You for all eternity. Be my Lord and my Savior. Fill me now with Your love, Your grace, and with Your Holy Spirit so that I can live for You. Thank You for saving me and filling me with hope.
Congratulations!!! You’ve now found the best way to die (again that sounds morbid, but who cares–you’re saved!!)
Revelation 21:14 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.
Romans 8:24-25 – For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
Titus 1:1-2 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies,promised before the ages began
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