Dr Peter Saunders, Campaign Director of Care Not Killing debates Rabbi Jonathan Romain of Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society).
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. Isaiah 38:1
It is never easy to care for a terminally ill patient. Hezekiah seems to have had a carbuncle of some kind. There were no antibiotics in those days. No one knew anything about bacteriology. Hezekiah must have developed septicaemia, and it was obvious to those caring for him that his condition was rapidly getting worse, and that there was nothing that any man could do about it.
Their fears were confirmed when the king was visited by the prophet Isaiah, who brought him the stern message: 'Thus says the Lord; "Set your house in order; for you shall die, you shall not recover"'.
The king turned his face to the wall, and prayed, and wept with a great weeping. The Lord heard his prayer, and while Isaiah was still in the middle
court of the palace sent him back with a new message to the king. It was this: 'Thus says the Lord: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life"'.
Hezekiah did recover, and the psalm or poem which he composed after his recovery is one of the most poignant writings in all literature. Read it for yourself in Isaiah 38:9-20.
Lord, give me special grace today as I have contact with
any who are terminally ill. May I bring them, by my
words and action, some comfort from yourself, the God
of all comfort. Give to your children who may be dying
this day the knowledge that you hear their prayers and
see their tears, and that you are planning in love for them,
Further reading: Jn 14:107, 27. Is 38:9-20.
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