Quality of Life?
Some say that if the so-called quality of life is "poor," the person isn't really living in the true sense of that word. Of course, those who think that way differ on what they consider "good quality of life." Some believe that old age or crippling diseases qualify as reasons to die. Others wait for life sustained by machines or nutrition supplemented by feeding tubes. A definition of good or bad quality of life can change rapidly as circumstances change. Many people have appealed to the courts for a cessation of treatment or the right to die only to change their minds and decide to live by the time the court decision was made.
Giving up is not a new concept. In the Old Testament of the Bible, when Elijah was tired, pursued by his enemies, and worn out from his work, he sat down under a tree and told God, "I have had enough, Lord. Take my life . . ." (1 Kings 19:4 NIV). At that time Elijah didn't think much of his "quality of life." But he didn't kill himself or get someone to kill him. He prayed to the Keeper of Life, God Himself, to take him. Then he slept. Later an angel fed him and he slept again. Then the angel woke him again and fed him and sent him on to do God's work. What had seemed to Elijah like the right time to die was not in God's timing.
"But," you might argue, "Elijah could still work. His life had value." God does not determine the length of a person's life by a human perception of the value of that life. He who notes each sparrow's fall and counts the hairs on our heads is very precise about the length of life of each being whom he creates. He gives life, and He takes life. He is the Lord of life. We, on the other hand, were originally created for fellowship with Him. How do we know that our most glorious moments from an eternal point of view might not be when we lie, unconscious to the world, communing with and worshipping God in a way which will have vast eternal implications. For God does not waste His servant's time -- or his pain. "Will not the God of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25 KJV).
(SOURCE: Before I Die by Elizabeth Ruth Skoglund, Copyright 2002 by Lutherans For Life)