Read Psalm 103:15-16
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here. (NLT)
Those involved in trauma care in our hospitals sometimes have the onerous duty of informing people that someone they love will likely die if artificial life support is removed. Some accept this and sadly say farewell. Others insist on keeping up the life support, believing that while there is some sort of life there is hope.
None of us can presume to lecture people in such extreme situations. But we may properly put it all into perspective. To what extent is continued existence on technological life support really ‘life’? Is there not a time to die? Our psalmist thinks so. And the Bible as a whole doesn’t deny our human mortality. There is a time to live and a time to die. Just because we have a piece of technology that can prolong life, does it mean that life must be prolonged? Are we merely prolonging the dying rather than the living?
Not easy questions. But we may at least say that the sanctity of human life does not deny the inevitability of death. God can work his miracles quite independently of our technology. And yet this same God who can preserve life unexpectedly also tells us we each have to die.
The very worst thing that can happen to us is not death, it is dying without Christ. This chapter of our life story must inevitably end. But in Christ the story is never ending.