"Quality of life" is on the table again. Or, rather, under the table, it seems. Fox News Sunday reported on a Veterans' Administration workbook intended to help veterans think through their "options" when they find themselves questioning their "quality of life." The booklet includes what might be described as "the Oregon solution" as a consideration: taking one's own life "with dignity." I find the whole discussion sinister, uncaring, presumptuous, and dangerous. "Quality of life" can be defined by one simple term: Life. Life is a gift of God, is sustained by God, and is withdrawn by God according to His good pleasure and wise timing. As long as someone is alive, that life has quality. Even the most comatose individual attracts the caring attention of health care providers and the loving sympathy of friends and family. Science is encouraged to pursue technological, pharmacological, and therapeutic innovations in order to restore to conscious, restored, or prolonged life those whose lives are threatened by illness or injury. Why do we care? Because human beings have an innate sense of the value of life. We are made in the image of God, and God made us to live. As long as we are alive, we bear witness to the grace, mercy, wonder, wisdom, and might of God. Thus every option that we present to anyone who finds himself in a situation where whether or not to perpetuate his life is on the table ought to promote seeking life, if only as a witness of gratitude to God and rest in His sovereign care. Let the dictionaries by which we live, beloved, contain the following entry: "Life, quality of: Life!"
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