Immortal Until Our Work Is Done

Euthanasia is not without appeal. Nobody wants to suffer or to see others suffer. While those of us who are Christians are confident regarding our eternal destiny, most of us do not relish thinking about how we may die. The destination is sure, but the road to it may be full of pain.

I can echo the words of C. S. Lewis when he said: “You would like to know how I behave when I am experiencing pain, not writing books about it. You need not guess, for I will tell you; I am a great coward.” When asked how a good God could allow suffering, Lewis responded: “What do people mean when they say, ‘I am not afraid of God because I know He is good’? Have they never even been to a dentist?”

Dying, as well as living, can be painful and uncomfortable. But it may also be the supreme moment of our life as far as our relationship with God is concerned. Who knows what worship goes up to God in those last moments? Who can conceive of the “soul work” that may be accomplished in those last days of life? And who can doubt the wisdom of God’s timing? Will not the God of all the earth do right, even in our dying? Did he not love us so much that he sent his only Son to die for our sins? Did not Christ weep in love over Israel, longing to gather them into his arms? May not even one second of our time on this earth be precious to him?

We need to recapture the spirit of bygone years when the physician, when he could not heal (which was perhaps most of the time), comforted the dying person and his or her family. We need to turn from our total emphasis on the technology of medicine back to the art of medicine.

I am reminded of Dr. Viktor Frankl, himself a death camp inmate, staying behind when he might have been released in order to minister to a dying patient. Frankl knew he could not save the patient, but he was able to comfort him.

I am reminded of people in Auschwitz who valued life so much that they did not run into the wire and take the easier way out, but remained alive, by choice, in a living hell, hoping in the slim chance that the Allies would deliver them.

Above all, I am reminded of a statement I once heard: “A servant of God is immortal until his work is done.” The statement is a challenge to all of us. It is a comfort to those who fear, in some way, the timing of their death. And it is a severe warning to those who feel that they may become gods and determine the life span of either themselves or anyone else. It is something to remember when one votes in the upcoming election or any after that. It is a fearful thing indeed to tamper with God’s immortal work.

– Elizabeth R. Skoglund, Life on the Line. Click here to purchase on Amazon.