Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It ain't over ...

You gotta love God's timing on things.

Earlier this month, the Quebec government passed a law allowing for assisted suicide and a Japanese cabinet minister opined that the elderly should "hurry up and die", and take pressure off resources for social services. ("If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they should get on with it, and decrease the surplus population.")

Now, we have two incidents of note that make one think a bit harder. The former Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, is showing signs of brain activity, seven years after being felled by a stroke. (Frankly, I thought he had died, but he has been alive ever since, in a vegetative state.) Meanwhile, in China, a 101-year-old woman was declared dead, but woke up as she was being placed in her coffin. The "celebration of life" was quickly re-purposed as ... well ... a celebration of life.

Chalk these up as two more instances where we think we know what's going on and God says, "oh, no, you don't!" We think life and death are things over which we have control, and God reminds us that He's in charge and He has things all planned out. As with anything in life, our attitude should be, "where is God?" rather than, "isn't it awful, what's happening to me?"

Under a "right to die" scenario, Sharon -- who was 77 when he had the stroke -- may well have been buried long ago. Instead, while his doctor says the chances are "very, very slim" that he'll ever get out of bed, he does say his colleagues will be studying the case to learn more about humans in a vegetative state. Besides, when he had the stroke, who would have predicted he would last this long?

Any kind of miracle is worth celebrating, and yet there are those who would talk about "quality of life", as if life is defined by whether we can continue to play tennis, have sex or eat chocolate cake at will. I'm sure that attitude contributed to my dad's going out more with a whimper than a bang when he passed away at age 88: looking at what one can't do, rather than what one can. It's at times like this that we need to remember that Jesus came to bring us abundant life. He didn't say anything about "quality".

Then again, when we remember that 0ur lives -- in whatever form they take -- are gifts from God, what more "quality" could we ask for?