“They’ve told me that I may have to go on a breathing machine soon. I’m not sure that’s something that I want to do, but I’m afraid to dishonor the Lord. Should I say yes to a respirator, or should I say no?”
If someone asked you that question, how would you answer?
How to apply God’s truth to very real and very dark realities is not always easy. When you’re wrestling with a question as profound as whether or not life is worth living, only God – not conventional wisdom – is adequate to answer.
Conventional wisdom says, “It’s your body. Do what you want.”
But 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “You are not your own. Therefore, honor God with your body.” We are not our own because we belong to God, who loves us as a father loves his children. He doesn’t merely tolerate us, He is crazy about us.
From the Christian worldview, death is a doorway to eternity. We shouldn’t fear death, we should be ready for it. That fundamental truth draws a fine line between medical treatment that sustains life and treatment that merely prolongs the dying process.
I think there’s also a fine line between defending God’s truth and over-burdening a suffering person. I don’t know if anyone can bring God’s truth and compassion together quite the same way as Joni Eareckson Tada.
Fifty years ago a tragic accident left Joni a quadriplegic, requiring constant care. She understands what it means to suffer. She’s had to answer the question, “Is life worth living?” as much as anyone.
God’s answer turns some of what our culture embraces as truth upside down. In a recorded message on our program today, Joni explains why she considers herself living proof that God can infuse even quadriplegia and all of its complications with eternal value. It’s often through our suffering that we experience God’s glory most profoundly.
Joni Eareckson Tada has dedicated herself to reaching for Christ as many of the 550 million disabled people around the world as possible – and she blesses the rest of us along the way.