Do we have the right to die, or is that up to God?
Only God will determine the circumstances of death
David Haynes, director, South Asia Partners Foundation, a Lawrence-based Christian ministry:
My first wife died of cancer at age 32, leaving three small children and me.
We fought the cancer for two and a half years, pursuing every available treatment and had many intimate times of prayer with friends in Lawrence.
When it became apparent that God was not going to use medical technology to heal her, we let go, relaxed and entrusted ourselves into his care and wisdom.
We kept my wife as comfortable as possible but did not try extraordinary measures to keep her organs functioning while she was comatose.
Our view of God and eternity meant that her life had just as much significance in 32 years as if she had lived to be 80.
We were living for eternity, not for all we could squeeze out of this life, which is temporary after all (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). A brain wave did not equal life to us.
God created each of us with an instinctive desire for immortality (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Those who know their creator realize that death is the gateway into eternity. Every one of us will pass through that portal. I do not see death as right. Every person on earth will die.
As one who trusts in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ for my salvation, I know certain things about my death.
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies" (John 11:25). When I die, I will live.
God says, "I alone initiate life, and I alone terminate life" (Job 1:21).
My own living will was in place 12 years ago. This document is not so much for my benefit as it is to serve my family in making some very difficult decisions.
Ultimately, only God will determine the circumstances of my last breath.
Send e-mail to David Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answer to question depends on perspective on divine
Charles Gruber, a Lawrence resident, is a spiritual seeker:
This gnarly question is a dilemma if I identify God as outside of me, separate from me, distinct from me.
In that case, there is no "right answer," just pain, suffering and disconnection.
If God is "other" than me, then God's direction, guidance and wisdom may be subject to someone else's interpretation.
That's where the real trouble begins.
When I identify God as my inner light, my intuition, my inner guidance, then the difference between that which I call "I" and that which I call "divine" disappears. There is no conflict, no fear and no hindrance.
The Persian poet Hafiz says:
"If I told you the truth about God
You might think I was an idiot.
If I lied to you about the Beautiful One,
You might parade me through the streets, shouting
'This guy is a genius.'
The world has its pants on backwards.
It carries its values and knowledge in a jug with a big hole in it.
Thus, having a clear grasp of the situation,
If I am asked anything these days,
I just laugh."
My own personal response to the question, "Do I have the right to die, or is that up to God" is: "Who's asking?"
Send e-mail to Charles Gruber at email@example.com.