When choosing life is complicated

With all the craziness in the news recently, there’s been a lot of talk about abortion and the right to life. There are some truly awful, heart-wrenching stories of women who have made the decision to end the life of their baby because of a terrible prognosis for their child. That is the justification for not just abortion, but third-trimester abortion. It’s really made me think. I can never claim to know the agony of having an awful diagnosis for the life of my baby and contemplating to end that baby’s life, but I do know the agony of having a loved one in a crippling, life-altering situation and wanting more than anything else in the world, for him to not have any more pain or suffering.

Who would ever want a loved one to suffer? Or who would really want to allow a disease to play itself out until a person inevitably dies a painful death? Or who wants to look into pleading eyes, while you watch them suffer, only to tell them, “It’s not your choice. You need to keep on fighting to live.” I had to do that with my Dad. All he wanted to do was die, and I didn’t blame him one bit. He had an accident that left him a quadriplegic and on a ventilator. He couldn’t communicate at all. Couldn’t move. Couldn’t speak. He could only mouth words, and we absolutely stunk at interpreting them. The whole thing was a nightmare.

I can’t lie. I prayed for my Dad to pass away as quickly as possible. I wanted to throw up thinking about what he was going through. My children would sweetly pray at night that I would stop crying, to which I would try to show a brave face, only to burst into tears 5 minutes later. How could I want my Dad to die? But how could I want him to live like that? It just seemed so cruel.

After about a month, the doctors allowed him to make the decision to be taken off of the ventilator. He already had a do not resuscitate order on record, but he added the do not ventilate order (which I didn’t even know existed). He lived less than 24 hours after it was taken away. I felt relief and enormous grief all at once.

I share this story because I understand in a way, what women go through who have chosen to abort their baby because of the potential for a very painful life. In this life, we all will have pain and suffering in one form or another. But if we just stop and think about it, who should be able to judge which life is worth living? That’s an impossible question to ask of anyone. Or at least, it should be. Women who say they abort their baby to protect them from a difficult life sound incredibly sacrificial, but really the one that is sacrificed is their baby. What if, right after we heard the diagnosis of my Dad, we all decided to kill him? Would that have been OK? I have no idea why the LORD allowed him to live that last month of his life the way he did, but I trust that the LORD knows a lot better than I do. God is not cruel, but He is good beyond my understanding. Of course, I wish I understood, but even when I don’t understand, I know I can trust Him.

It should never be our choice when a life should be taken, even if that life will inevitably die sooner rather than later. Technically we’re all going to die, it’s all just a matter of time, right? We all should be ready and willing to allow life, in all of its forms, to do just that – live while it can. We may not know all the ramifications that one life may have on another’s life. We don’t have that perspective. I’m not advocating extending life artificially which truly can be awful (I’ve done a book review on an awesome book about this), as was my Dad’s case. However, ending life prematurely is not OK. We shouldn’t be about the business of picking and choosing who deserves to live and who doesn’t.

I am not writing this to condemn any woman or any person who has been put in the excruciating position of making a life and death decision for a loved one. Things in life can happen that can put us in unimaginable situations that no one would want or anticipate being placed in. I get that. But taking someone’s life away prematurely is not just an unfortunate decision, it’s a wrong decision.

So what do we do with these grieving mothers or these grieving family members who did not choose life? We point them to Jesus, Who offers us immediate compassion, love, and forgiveness when we turn to Him and repent of our sins. He is a God of love and justice. We all fall short, life is so hard, and my heart truly aches for those grieving, misguided people who choose abortion or euthanasia. But we can never forget those babies and people who weren’t given a chance to Let Life Win. I hope we can all walk boldly, together, with great compassion and in that steadfast truth.

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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