Today I have been with family members who have been wrestling with the decision to remove life support systems from their loved one. The decision is one no wife would ever wish to make concerning her husband. The believer always wonders if there is still an ounce of hope that God might allow a miracle to happen that supersedes every prognosis given by medical experts.
Just a week ago he was enjoying relationships with his family, working out at the health club, working in his vocation and serving Christ through his life. Today, he lies comatose with severe neurological damage following a heart attack sustained when alone…on his way home.
The possibility of such an experience always seems remote, but it is nonetheless real. In this instance, it was something that the couple had talked about. He had said, “I would not want to remain in a condition where I was not aware, being dependent upon support systems to sustain my life.” He said, “I would rather go be with Jesus.”
While the decision to remove life support systems is still traumatizing and painful, the words he had spoken do provide comfort. For those who remain, the pain of loss is profound. Even knowing his preference to “be with Jesus” does not remove the hurt and emptiness. Nor does it remove the lingering questions: “Is this the right decision?”
While family and friends gather round, and faith nurtures the spirit of those who remain, the darkness of the moment is real. And it feels as though the light will never shine again. That is reality, even for people with deep faith. And we, friends and family who also possess faith in God, join them with our tears.
We ask ourselves why we cry, if we truly believe the promises of God. And for just a moment, we understand another who stood at the grave of a dear friend and wept even though He possessed the power to restore life. Yes, Jesus wept.