Monday, November 3, 2014

A Prayer for Brittany

I began writing this without the knowledge that Brittany Maynard actually went through with her physician-assisted suicide on Saturday Nov. 1.  I was almost done and in the midst of the prayer at the end when, after an interruption, I saw on FB that she was gone.  I am heartbroken and weighed down by the realization that my concerns about her eternal well-being may have come to pass.  Even her obituary, found in this article about her death, not once mentions any thing remotely related to God.  She seems to have been an amazing woman with an incredibly accomplished life to have been so young.  But all the good, well-intentioned actions in the world will not make us right before God. I hope I am wrong, but I fear I am not.  I fear the prayer will be more useful for her family than for her.  No prayer changes eternity once we are gone.  May it have an affect for her family.

I hesitated to continue with posting this but I figure if any of it can be of use by the Lord in someone's life as they think through this story or the bigger issue of "Death With Dignity" then it will have been worth the write.  I pray it is a blessing to someone.

A Prayer For Brittany

Courtesy: Brittany MaynardImage result for pics of brittany maynard

Many are probably aware of Brittany Maynard's story.  A beautiful young girl, newly married, and full of life.   Her list of accomplishments is something of a combination of Mother Theresa and the adventures from the movie "The Bucket List".

That is until not long ago when as a newlywed, she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor that, without God's intervention, is sure to take her life sooner rather than later; and not without a good deal of discomfort and suffering.

Unfortunately she has decided that, rather than courageously lean into God and trust Him to carry her to the end, she will participate in what has been coined "Death With Dignity".  She has determined that her idea of courage is to "go out on her own terms" rather than suffer through whatever path the disease may have for her.

"Death With Dignity" is an unfortunate misnomer for physician-assisted suicide.  It is being championed by one organization in Oregon called Compassion and Choices.  Brittany moved from California to Oregon in order to have the legal support to go through with her plan.  That plan is to take her own life using a specific dose of a specifically prescribed drug that will cause her to die.

She was planning to do this on November 1st however, as of October 29th she had decided that she was not quite ready considering she was still having a number of "good days".  She experiences pain and debilitating seizures quite often.  But I guess her good days are outweighing the bad at the moment.

This story has garnered national headlines in major papers and magazines across the country and internationally.  Before I go any further let me just say that I am writing our of compassion.  There are plenty of ugly responses out there, calling her a coward, piling insult upon insult.  I do not want to be a part of that.

So Why Write About It?
I admit that I have been remiss to speak to it.  There has been plenty said about this topic and this story from many different sources, including many videos of interviews with Brittany herself.  To be honest, I did not have nearly the hope or faith that I should have had in God's ability to overcome this scenario and save her when I first heard about it.  I am far to quick at times, to understand someone's resolve toward disbelief in God and write them off as a lost cause.  It is a definite flaw that I greatly desire to see remedied by the grace of God.  I face the same faith challenge at times when desiring to pray for difficult health situations.  At times my faith waivers and I know that it should not.  I am not God and I do not know who He has chosen to be saved or healed thus, I am contrite and repentant in this tendency.  I desperately want to believe that anyone and everyone can be saved and should have the opportunity via loving gospel presentations.  I also want to pray faithfully that God will heal someone while always couching that in the desire for His glory to be made manifest whether in death, healing, or in walking with people through their physical trials.

Delay of Death
So, it is her delay of death as it were, that has prompted my decision to blog about this story.  You see I have read or heard enough stories about people struggling with terminal diseases to know that the ones who have genuine faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior talk about it; especially in trials such as the one that Brittany Maynard is facing.  Yet in all of the communications regarding her story, from Brittany herself or otherwise, God has not even been an afterthought.  There has been no mention of Jesus or any other religious belief or Deity for that matter.

I have watched some heart-wrenching interviews found herehere, and here.There is an incredible amount of love and support coming from Brittany's family but no mention of God or heaven anywhere, by any family member or Brittany herself.  She is described by her mother as an autonomous, bright, well-read, well-traveled young girl.  No mention of faith of any kind.

Even as she states that she wants to encourage people to do what she is doing i.e. seize the day, pursue what matters, forget the rest.  So far in pursuing what matters, it has been all about making the most of this life.  Unfortunately that has involved everything lovely except, relationship with Jesus and His purpose for our lives.  She seems to have no concept of a life after death.  That is frightening.

No Thought For Eternity
There have been many loving, concerned responses.  Some of which have definitely brought God into the equation.  One such interview involved discussion of an open letter, found here of encouragement to Brittany written by a strong Christian quadriplegic named Joni Eareckson-Tada whom herself has battled cancer.  

I am thankful that in her brief interview found here she at least, has spoken to the reality that Brittany's worst fears don't appear to have been even comprehended by her.  Those fears being the reality that Brittany could wake up on the other side of death in a far worse predicament than she had in this life.

My Burden
This brings great concern to my heart.  As you watch the videos, your heart breaks for her.  You cannot be a compassionate human being without feeling her pain.  I can even understand on some level, this goal of "death with dignity" that she has, as well as her families desire to support it.

As a Christian however, I am profoundly burdened at thinking that all thee noble "bravery" in this life could potentially end in such a tragic way eternally.  That she could die thinking, along with her family, that she is finally going to be at rest; when in reality she will be experiencing torment and suffering unlike any she could have imagined on her worst day with cancer.  Torment and suffering that will never, ever end.

Many seem surprised or upset that she sees no problem with this idea of "death with dignity".  They seem upset that she does not understand that her life is not hers to end.  But if she does not know Jesus, then it makes total sense that she would think that way.  There are Christians who struggle with depression and stress, loose hope, and take their own life.  Of course someone who has no apparent faith in anything beyond the here and now is not going to think beyond herself as an individual.

It is possible God could heal her, but He may not.  No matter how much time she has left on this earth, she can die with a hope for eternity that she does not seem to have.  Neither does her family.  If God reveals himself to Brittany and her family in a way that brings them into a saving relationship with Jesus, they could experience joy and hope in ways that they had never imagined. They would have something bigger than themselves to live and die for.

So I Pray
Heavenly Father, Creator, Giver of life and breath,

I pray above all else that you name would be glorified in the story of Brittany Maynard's life.  You are the sovereign Lord over all.  Nothing is unknown to you.  Nothing is outside of your control.

Lord, your word says in Psalm 139:13-16 that you knit me together and that the days of my life were written in your book before I had lived one of them.  We know that this is true for Brittany.

Father, you sent your Son so that we would not only be delivered from spiritual death for all eternity but so that we could have hope and strength, through suffering and trials in this life, that only comes from you.  He died so that we might live.  Father, I know that your Son Jesus died that Brittany Maynard might live.

God, we know that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  That we die in this mortal body, yet we can live for all of eternity in Him(John 11:25)  Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to you Father except through Him.  What's more Jesus tells us in John 6:44 that no one can come to himself unless the Father draws that person.

We are ALL lost without you God.  We are ALL already dead in our trespasses and sins(Ephesians 2:1).  But for your resurrection power by which you make us alive in Christ, we have no purpose but to live and die.  I thank you Father for drawing me to the Son.

Father I pray that your will would be done in Brittany's life.  I pray that you would draw her to come to a saving knowledge of you before she dies.  Whenever that may be.

Regardless of the outcome I trust that you are in control and your ways are always good and right.

If she is not to be saved, may her family somehow come to know you through this.

In the precious name of Jesus,


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