Californians Against Assisted Suicide

  • June 17, 2011
  • #7600

Joni shares that she had to learn how to believe and act on what God says rather than on her feelings.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I’m sending out a prayer alert today!

Welcome to Joni and Friends where, as you know, we cover some pretty important issues that relate to disability. And right now, the issue that has the attention has a lot of us with disabilities concerned… it’s physician assisted suicide. Currently, Vermont, Montana and Hawaii are battlegrounds where forces are trying hard to make it legal for terminally ill people to request lethal drugs from their doctor to end their lives. 

And just who are the strongest voices against physician-assisted suicide? That’s right… it’s people with disabilities. Because we know that once you make it legal for terminally ill people to get aid in dying, it’ll only take a few court challenges to widen the definition of what it means to be terminally ill. Right now, a terminal illness means advanced stage 4 cancer or full-blown AIDS… but eventually it could include a person with multiple sclerosis or even someone who is spinal cord injured and hooked up to a ventilator. Over in Switzerland, a person who struggles with clinical depression can actually qualify for physician-assisted suicide. Yikes! 

And frankly, that’s the real problem behind this issue. It’s depression. The kind of depression that convinces you life’s not worth living anymore. In fact, I have a quadriplegic friend in Hawaii who is in the hospital right now for the sixth time because of pressure sores. He is so depressed. So much so, he wants to end his life. But is 3 grams of Phenobarbital in the veins his answer? No way. Pressure sores can be healed, and depression can be treated. That's why I’ve been encouraging him to keep connected with his friends, keep his head above water, reminding him that an early exit is not the answer. The grace of God really is sufficient. It’s why I’m so glad the Christian community in Hawaii has really made the effort to provide support and help– to let him know that he’s not alone in the effort. 

But you know what? You don't have to be a quadriplegic… You don't have to be disabled to understand how devastating depression can be… How it can make you want to throw in the towel, let it all go, give it all up… how it can drive you to despair.… How it can convince you that physician-assisted suicide is not half bad idea! Well, friend, we don't want that. And, hey, maybe you are struggling with depression – perhaps you feel like giving up, running away from it all, or just plain disappearing from life. I can identify. Really, I can. Like my quadriplegic friend in Hawaii, I, too, have been bed ridden for long periods of time and, oh, that black fog of depression that never seems to lift…

But I learned how to eventually move out of that black fog. I learned how to believe and act on what God says rather than feel what God says. I learned that whenever an emotional debate would take place inside my head (a debate between what my feelings were saying and what scripture says), scripture, I knew, had to win. Any other result and I was essentially telling God that He could not be trusted.  But God can be trusted… and He wants you to see clearly out of that fog of depression. To help you, I want to send you an excellent little booklet by Dr. Edward Welch called “Depression: The Way Up when You Are Down.” It’s full of great directives that’ll help you believe what God says rather than feel it (and feelings, as you know, aren’t to be trusted). Again, just ask for our booklet on depression when you visit our radio page at joniandfriends.org. And one more thing… please be praying for my friend in Hawaii, that God will lift him up out of depression, too! 

© Joni and Friends

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