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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A tale of three lives.

Over the past few days, I have been struck by the stories of three men.  The first is simply known as martin (not his real name).  He is, according to both radio and newspaper reports, 46 years of age but, about three years ago, he suffered a massive brain-stem stroke and now lies on a hospital-style bed in the converted garage of his home.  His wife is reading a bk to him - a book written by a man who suffered the same kind of stroke and, like Martin, used his eyes to communicate (in Martin's case, using a computer).  But Martin has no such ambition.  He only wants to die and, as his wife is unwilling to assist him, is seeking legal assurances that professionals - such as his solicitor and his doctor - will not face either prosecution or disciplinary action if they provide that assistance.

It sounds like a perfect case to support the legalising of assisted suicide (aka euthanasia).  However, there is a second story.  This concerns a young man named Aaron Denham, who was left in a coma after a road accident in March of this year; was on a life-support machine; and showed no sign of independent life.  It was as the family of the 22-year-old stood at his bedside, trying to decide arrangements for his funeral service, that his mother noticed his hand moving.  The rest, as one might say, is history and Aaron appears to be making a complete recovery!  Hospital staff, as well as family members, are referring to that recovery as "miraculous"! And that story is, for me, one of the major arguments against the legalisation of euthanasia - by whatever name it may be called.

Of course, a lot depends on one's own attitude to life and death.  That's where the third story comes in.  It concerns the father of well-known Christian author, Max Lucado.  Max writes: "The last three years of his life were scarred by ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - a form of motor neuron disease). The disease took him from a healthy mechanic to a bed-bound paralytic. He lost his voice and his muscles, but he never lost his faith. Visitors noticed. Not so much in what he said but more in what he didn’t say. Never outwardly angry or bitter, Jack Lucado suffered [with dignity].

His faith led one man to seek a like faith. After the funeral this man sought me out and told me. Because of my dad’s example, he became a Jesus follower.

Did God orchestrate my father’s illness for that very reason? Knowing the value he places on one soul, I wouldn’t be surprised. And imagining the splendour of heaven, I know my father’s not complaining

Those of us who have the same faith in a loving, and caring, Father God that Jack Lucado had, are able to trust Him with our lives.  He knows when is the time for us to die - and we ought not to want to die a minute earlier.  He has a work for each of us to do and, as the old hymn put it, it's a work that only you, or I, can do!

So whatever your pain; whatever your problem; take it to Him, and ask Him to help you to use it to bring praise and glory to His Name.  And trust Him!  Another hymn-writer said: "My times are in Thy hand; my God, I wish them there."  They couldn't be in a better place!

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