Incompatible with Life?

Incompatible with Life?

The San Diego Union-Tribune recently featured the retiring president of the Hemlock Society of San Diego on the front page.  In the article, she stated, “I value a life with quality but not one where I am no longer able to do the things I enjoy, where I can’t recognize friends and loved ones, where I am dependent, where I am remembered as doddering, incompetent and difficult.”  If you go to the website of that particular chapter, you learn more about Death Coaching, being there for a person who has elected to commit assisted suicide, and many other dark things that should make us shudder. 

Even though the Hemlock Society celebrated quite a victory in the California End of Life Option Act that took effect in 2016, it is not done pushing for death.  It is not enough to make it legal for physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill.  Now they would like to expand the act to include those with illnesses such as dementia, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s disease, congestive heart failure, and other diseases that have a very up and down trajectory, much longer than the traditional “six months to live.”  They would like people to be able to specify ahead of time in an advanced directive when they would want to die, even if they are unable to communicate it themselves at the time.  

Never Enough 

One victory for death is not enough.  It is never enough, until they have you, planting seeds of doubt about your worth, questioning whether you have your dignity, or whether you are too much of a “burden” to live, sucking the emotional and financial resources of your family.  They remind you that incomprehensible amounts of health care dollars are spent in the last year of life as if the money spent is not worth it because you were just going to die anyway.   

Well, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. 

Not to mean that you have to accept every treatment offered even if it probably will not work.  If there’s not going to be a cure, you can elect to make use of the hospice benefit. You can focus on living well during the time God gives youy.  But it’s also not wrong, as they imply, to fight for life.  

The Hemlock Society gives you lie after lie.  Your worth was never in what you could or could not do. It is not in how much money you earn or spend, or how little you bother your friends and family with your needs.  Christians know what they don’t: your worth comes from Christ.  

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” 1 Peter 5

Incompatible with Life

On the other side, another author recently wrote about the advances made in extending the lives of newborns born with genetic diseases such as Trisomy 13 and 18 by performing heart surgery to alleviate some of their immediate heart problems.  84% of the babies who had heart surgery were able to go home on hospice with their families, compared to only 56% of those who didn’t have heart surgery.  What a difference several days could make in the life of that family.  

The doctor who performed the research stated, “Does ‘incompatible with life’ mean simply that they will not live beyond birth? That’s not true.  The median age is 10 days, and 10 days is life in a real way.”  “I believe this language is a self-fulfilling prophecy in medicine. So much literature has described these conditions as universally fatal, and we have let these children go for almost a generation,” another doctor stated.   

Wild and Undeserved Miracle

In another article, the authors interviewed the family of Evelyn, a baby born with Trisomy 18, who lived for 57 days at home.  Her dad said, “Fourteen days is the average lifespan of a child with Trisomy 18.  We feel lucky we had Evelyn for 57 days. We were given a miracle that was wild and undeserved.”  Evelyn’s nurse practitioner stated that Evelyn loved to be held, “as if she was saying, ‘I’m part of this world. I am awesome and wonderfully made.’”  Evelyn was awesome and wonderfully made because she was alive.  She was alive through Christ.  She couldn’t do anything but be held.  But how much was she worth?  Incalculable.

Hope in Christ

When you state a disease is “incompatible with life,” the language points the way for the trajectory of the disease, no thinking required.  “Incompatible with life” means nothing can be done, so don’t even try.  In reality, sin makes us all “incompatible with life,” because sin brought death into the world.  It doesn’t matter how much time you have left, 50 years or 50 hours. You are dying in sin.

What the medical professionals who state Trisomy 13 or 18 is “incompatible with life” and the Hemlock Society have in common is not valuing life as it is, in all stages, no matter how long is left.  They don’t value life, and they don’t have hope.  Hope is in Christ, and only in Him.  

Christ is Life 

Christians are pro-life because Christ is life. 

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4 

Paul reiterated this in Philippians: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” “To die is gain” is only because of Christ. There is no eternal death in Christ, because in trusting in Him, you will go to be with Him, raised to new life with Him.   Your life is not only about you, it is about Christ.  

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that because you hope in Christ, life will be perfect, and there will be no bumps in the road.  In fact, the Bible is clear that sin has infected this life.  You are dying.  It will be hard, and you will have sufferings.  But only for a little while, not forever.  

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”  1 Peter 5

Christ Has You

Even when you suffer, Christ still has you.  Your worth comes from God, and we trust in His timings because God valued your life enough to send His Son to die on the cross for it.  He redeemed your life, and so we put our lives in His hands.  We owe Him that.  We trust His timing, even when we don’t understand, when we hurt, when we are scared, and when we suffer.  Because we know in His right timing, He will bring us home to Him.  Christ has never let us down.  We trust Him from beginning to end.  

Do not despair.  No matter what, you matter to God, and you matter to us at Gloria Dei

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