It seems like everywhere I turn I cannot escape the story of Brittany Maynard, the young, newly married lady who is choosing to end her life on November 1, 2014. She says that, “Cancer is ending my life. I am choosing to end it sooner and in a lot less pain and suffering.” Here is a little more information about her story: the Brittany Maynard story.
My heart broke into a million pieces when I saw those words flash across my screen, “I am choosing to end it sooner.” Brittany, just 29 years of age, is choosing to end her life before brain cancer does, my heart and mind just couldn’t make sense of it all. I am just three years younger and cannot imagine choosing to end my life whether for health or personal reasons. Life is precious and sacred.
I have probably read close to ten articles about Brittany and I’ve watched countless video clips of her sharing her story. She claims she does not want to die, and yet it appears to be that she is choosing death. Sure, it is inevitable that she will die someday, but without her choosing to, would she have actually died on November 1st or would she have lived longer? These are questions to which we may never know the answer.
Like many others, my heart aches for Brittany and her family, not just because death is just around the corner, but also because it seems rather clear that she does not know her Heavenly Father and does not have a true peace. Not once in any of her interviews does she mention knowing the peace of Jesus, knowing His power and might, or more simply, having relationship with Him. When we know God, we know true peace.
Joni Eareckson Tada, an internationally known advocate for the disability community who has been a quadriplegic for more than forty-seven years and is also a breast cancer survivor, recently urged Brittany to rethink her decision, “If I could park my wheelchair beside her, I would tell her how the love of Jesus has sustained me through my chronic pain, quadriplegia and cancer. I don’t want her to wake up on the other side of her tombstone only to face a dark, grim existence without life and joy; that is, without God. There’s only one person who has transformed the landscape of life-after-death, and that is Jesus, the One who conquered the grave, opening the path to life eternal. Three grams of phenobarbital in the veins will only provide a temporary reprieve. It is not the answer for the most important passage of her life.”
Brittany, I do not know you, but my heart aches for you. My spirit cries out that you would find Christ and know how much he cares for you, and loves you, and desires relationship with you. I commend you for wanting to live your life fully. Now, do that. Live your life fully to the end. Choose to live, choose life. Be another’s inspiration by choosing life while you still can. Live vivaciously and ferociously; be brave and show them you are a fighter until your last breath. The answer to your pain is not death but rather Christ. He is our hope and glory. My hope is that you find Him and see His goodness and love.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2
Friends, we are not all burdened with the choice of life and death, but I think we can all take something away from the life of Brittany Maynard. We all, on a daily basis, in every situation, are given a choice, we can choose to call upon the name of the Lord in our time of need or we can hide behind our circumstances and give our power and authority away to what is weighing us down. What will you choose? Will you choose to be brave or will you choose to run and hide? Will you seek after the Lord with all you heart even when life seems hopeless?
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29:12-14a
Call on the name of the Lord, in good times and in bad. Pull on Heaven. Whether big or small He wants to hear from you. He loves you and cares for you immensely. He desires relationship with you. He wants you to really know Him, for when we truly know Him we can know peace no matter what is going on around us. Every day, choose to get in the presence of the Lord, for there you will find LIFE.