Saturday, 24 October 2020
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How the current pandemic underscores the sanctity of human life Photo by Jude Beck/Unsplash

How the current pandemic underscores the sanctity of human life

I kept getting distracted and looking out the window as the nurse droned on with a list of pre-op questions. Then she got my attention with a zinger:

“Do you have a living will?”

Suddenly my upcoming surgery took on a morbid tone. I mean, this was just going to be a hip replacement— a highly successful, no-big-deal kind of thing, right?

Probably. Maybe. We hope.

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During the days after surgery, I had to rest and allow others to attend me. I’m independent, so this was humbling. I felt vulnerable and wiped out and lonely.

The hardest part of this whole experience, though, wasn’t the pain or physical limitations or isolation. 

It was the inescapable focus on my fragility as a human being.

I didn’t like facing that. I couldn’t wait to be done with the whole meditating-on-my-mortality thing. 

Ironically, just as I healed up enough to return to work, the twilight zone of COVID-19 began. 

Within two days, I was back to working from home, checking the news, pondering the fleeting nature of life on earth—this time along with everyone else.

The Psalmist writes:

“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” –Psalm 90:12

And the teacher instructs:

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart.” – Ecclesiastes 7:2

Americans don’t do death very well. We don’t like to think about it or talk about it. We prefer to call it “passing” and speak vaguely of a “better place.” We’re not very good at grieving.

But Christians have a whole different take on the subject of death. And what we understand about death has everything to do with the sanctity of human life.

Our view of death and our view of life are inextricably linked.

Here we are, facing a worldwide pandemic the likes of which none of us has ever experienced. At a time like this, our worldview comes into sharper focus. Our actions demonstrate what we believe.

Christians who labor in pro-life ministry do this work with an eternal perspective in mind. We don’t just work at saving preborn human lives because it’s unfair not to give those babies a chance at life.

We do it because we understand Who created all people in the first place. 

Human beings are made in the image of God. He loves and values us. In the order of creation, He saved us for last as His piece de resistance. He calls us the crown of His creation (Psalm 8:3-5). 

When death came into the picture due to humankind’s rebellion, God already had a plan in place—a plan which would cost Him dearly—to reconcile humanity to Himself. 

Jesus’ death and resurrection offer us eternal life.

Christians don’t fear death in an ultimate sense, because we are assured of our eternal destiny in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). 

We’ve been given more than a vague idea of a better place. 

We look forward to the renewal of all things, to receiving an imperishable body, to a future where every tear is wiped away, animals no longer devour each other and humanity worships God in perfected love and unity (Revelation 7:9-17; Isaiah 11:6). 

And yet-

At a time like this, death looms formidable and menacing. It frightens us, and understandably so. Even Jesus sweat great drops of blood at the prospect of his own impending death.

A pandemic makes us aware of how fragile human beings really are. It can teach us to number our days. Allow us to gain a heart of wisdom. Help us consider how fleeting our lives are.

It can turn our attention to eternal matters.

Any way you slice it, our time on earth is short (James 1:11). What will matter most in the grand scheme of things is how we treated our fellow human beings.

Jesus said,  

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’--Matt. 25:40

Who is smaller or more vulnerable or less deserving of punishment than a preborn child? Of whom is God more fiercely protective than the unborn? 

When we stand up for our preborn neighbors, we do it for Christ.

Tweet This: Of whom is God more fiercely protective than the unborn? When we stand up for our preborn neighbors, we do it for Christ.

When we hold out hope to distraught women or couples facing unplanned pregnancies, we do this for Jesus. When we sacrifice time and emotional energy to help a post-abortive individual find peace, we do it for Him.

As you face this weird season with honesty about your own fears, yet confidence about your eternal future, may the light of your faith and love shine bright in the darkness. 

May you be strengthened to find creative ways to keep ministering. May you demonstrate patient endurance as you work to help anxious, distressed people.  

Christians aren’t exempt from suffering or death. 

But our ultimate focus is on life—the sacredness of human life, the abundant life found in Christ, and the eternal life which He alone makes possible.

Even in the valley of the shadow, let’s fix our eyes on life.

Susanne Maynes

Susanne Maynes is an author, speaker, and biblical counselor who served at a pregnancy help center for ten years. She blogs about church & culture and spiritual growth at SusanneMaynes.com. Her first book, Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion: 40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn, inspires and uplifts the pregnancy help community. Her latest book, Releasing Your Brave Love: Helping Kids to Change Their World, helps 8-12 year-olds embrace the truth of Imago Dei and develop a strong pro-life ethic. 

Website: www.susannemaynes.com

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