Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Assisted Suicide - is there another way?

The whole of the civilised world knows what happens at the Dignitas clinic in Zurich. Whether it is Prof. Craig Ewart or Daniel James - it is so tragic to learn of their death's. Their lives suddenly and decisively by their own choice brought to an abrupt end. It is hard to read the newspaper details without tears in one's eyes. Whether it is a bright agile minded professor or a once strong and fit rugby player for them both the thought of life draining away was too much. Is there an alternative to such sorrow? Is there really a way to die with dignity? Is there a way when life is draining away through a rampant disease or the effects of a serious accident to really be who were were designed to be?
The answer of the Bible is a sure and certain yes. Almost stated matter of fact like in John 21v19 the Lord Jesus makes the life and death transforming statement, This He said to show what kind of death he was to glorify God. These are the words of Jesus Christ concerning the apostle Peter. Jesus had just predicted that Peter's final days in this world would be ones of great suffering, no longer in control of things himself - when you are old you will stretch out your hands and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go. (John 21v18)
The tradition is that Peter was killed by crucifixion. But whatever way it was, Jesus said that in his dying that would be the way that Peter would bring glory to God. Death for Peter was simply another opporunity for him to be a God glorifier. So how did he glorifiy God? By trusting in God to see him through the darkest hour. By relying on God for grace to cope with the pain and the anguish. By committing himself into God's hands when he himself had no control. In dying Peter was being who he was designed to be - a God glorifier.
The process of our dying can be the time of our greatest work for God. Trusting Him for our last months, weeks, days and breath. Trusting that He knows better than we do. So assisted suicide is not the answer. It is to defy God. It is to break His commandment.
Trusting in Christ to deal with our sins is the answer and relying on Him right to God's appointed time for us to leave this earth.
What a wonderful thing to be a Christian. So that even when our body is weak and powerless we can be doing what we were designed to do - glorify God.
That is the way to die with real dignity - being who were were designed to be.
Things are never what they seem to be. A man or woman lying in a hospital bed, life supported with tubes and wires. Every basic detail seen to by others. No strength to do anything for self. But inwardly looking to God and relying on Him. That is the way to die.