Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with terminal brain cancer, has recently gained national attention after deciding to end her own life on November 1st, before her suffering becomes too great. In April, Brittany was given six months to live. However, Brittany is now saying that November 1st “isn’t the right time.”
Christian Headlines reports that Brittany moved to Oregon to have access to the state’s “Death with Dignity” law for terminally ill patients. She previously planned to take the fatal dose of a prescription medication after her husband’s birthday; now Brittany says she will see how the disease progresses.
Many Christians have publically addressed the situation, writing open letters to Brittany asking her to reconsider her decision. Perhaps none have been as moving as Kara Tippett’s, a young mom of four who is currently battling terminal cancer herself. Her letter, titled, Dear Brittany: Why We Don’t Have to be so Afraid of Dying & Suffering that We Choose Suicide, she pleads with Brittany to consider a different ending.
“Dear heart, we simply disagree. Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known.
In your choosing your own death, you are robbing those that love you with such tenderness, the opportunity of meeting you in your last moments and extending you love in your last breaths.
That last kiss, that last warm touch, that last breath, matters — but it was never intended for us to decide when that last breath is breathed.
Knowing Jesus, knowing that He understands my hard goodbye, He walks with me in my dying. My heart longs for you to know Him in your dying. Because in His dying, He protected my living. My living beyond this place.”
You can read the rest of Kara’s heart-felt letter here.
Joni Eareckson Tada, a Christian disability advocate who was paralyzed after a swimming accident and has also battled cancer, had this to say about Brittany’s decision: “If I could spend a few moments with Brittany before she swallows that prescription she has already filled, I would tell her how I have felt the love of Jesus strengthen and comfort me through my own cancer, chronic pain and quadriplegia.”
As Christians, we know that there is no pain that is without purpose. iBelieve writer Debbie McDaniel recently wrote about trusting God’s goodness after a bad diagnosis: “Our times are in His hands. He holds all things together, even when they seem to be spinning out of our control. He fits pieces together, that don’t seem to make sense. He holds us secure, safe, close. Our times are not in cancer's hands. Our times are never held subject to the illness that may strive to clutch our lives. Our times belong to Him. And He will never allow us to suffer without any good coming from it, somehow, in some way. He will always use the pain we walk through to bring hope and strength to another soul. To make some lasting impression or difference in this world. Because He has purpose. In whatever we face, day in, day out, good, bad, great times, and tough trials, in it all - He breathes meaning.”
What do you think about Brittany Maynard’s decision to end her life? How has your faith helped you in times of great suffering?
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.