This Beautiful Inheritance: What Believers Can Take Away From Brittany Maynard

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What Believers Can Take Away From Brittany Maynard

I never met Brittany Maynard. So why has her life and death affected me like it has? Since I first learned her name and story a few weeks ago, she's consumed much of my thoughts. Terminally ill with brain cancer, Brittany and her husband moved to Oregon to take advantage of the state's "Death with Dignity" law, which would allow her to ingest a prescription drug that would kill her on her terms, not cancer's.

I think it was Brittany's beautiful face that hooked everyone's attention, mine included. She was so pretty, so young, so alive it seemed. The thought of her walking in the park with her husband and dog one day, and then lying in bed surrounded by family with her favorite music playing in the background (as she described) and purposefully ending her life mortified me to no end. I couldn't get it out of my mind.

I prayed for Brittany. I prayed and I prayed and I even private messaged her on Facebook. I felt like her soul was dangling over eternity, and it was up to believers like me -- people who care about the eternal destination of souls -- to reach out and grab and rescue it.

I posted about her on Facebook, asking others to plead for her soul. And I was criticized for assuming she wasn't saved. I'll be honest -- I thought it was petty criticism. We're talking about eternity here. I would much rather wrongly assume she wasn't saved and work and plead and pray, than wrongly assume she was and wait idly by as she stepped into hell.

And after a false indication that she might delay the killing, Brittany took her life, just as she promised, on Nov. 1. For a moment, I felt like the life had been sucked from me too. I was stunned and silenced. She was gone, and there was no more chance for hope.

The last couple of days Brittany's life and death have continually been on my mind. Why have I not been able to quit thinking of this girl I never knew? I think the thing that made her case so gut-wrenching was that there was a date attached to it. Each day leading up to it felt like a step down death row. What I've realized, though, is that my concern for the soul of every other human should be the same as that for Brittany Maynard. Every person with breath in their lungs has an impending death looming, along with an eternal destination. Although Brittany's death had a date attached to it, many others' could have and did come more quickly. Was/am I just as concerned about their fates?

As devastating as this situation has been, the one take-away I can gather is that there are Brittany Maynards everywhere. There are people dying of cancer on every corner of this town and country. There are young, pretty, famous faces incredibly lost and desperate for prayers. And there are healthy, vibrant people sprinkled all over this globe who don't know the date of their deaths but who will be there in an instant.

So I should be equally burdened for each of them. For they -- like me -- have souls that dangle over eternity. May we never cease praying that they accept the grace of Jesus that allows them eternity with Him.

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