How Charlie Gard is helping us come to terms with one of the biggest issues of our time
Neither life nor death are ultimately on our own terms.
The final hours of Charlie Gard’s brief but impactful life have now passed. His parents wanted their very sick and disabled child to be able to die peacefully at home — but arrangements for the kind of intensive care their son needed could not be accommodated. A judge ruled life support would be withdrawn in a hospice setting.
It is not what the child’s parents wanted, but nothing about little Charlie’s story is what parents would want. No parents want their baby to be diagnosed with an incurable degenerative disease. No one wants to be told the treatment options in his own country are limited. No one wants to be told by doctors that continued treatment is considered more inhumane than allowing a baby to naturally pass from this life. No parents want to watch their baby die in a sterile, institutional environment. No one.
We have grieved with these parents as they have grieved, and still do. But as Christians, we do not grieve as those who have no hope.
The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, the psalmist King David, the gospel writer Luke, and the apostle Paul all bear witness to God’s knowledge and interaction with human beings before they are ever born. In Genesis 25:23, we hear God’s revelation to Rebekah: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”
Not only does God affirm He already knows Jacob and Esau, but He knows what they will be like, what their relationship will be like — and what the generations proceeding from them will be like!
The secular world does not want to consider that the pre-born are already known to God and in an eternal relationship with Him, but cognitive dissonance makes the truth no less true. Missing throughout the public discussion over Charlie Gard’s life, even as Pope Francis intervened, has been a recognition of God’s presence, power, and all-sufficient grace.
(Photo from Charlie Gard #charliesfight GoFund Me page.)