Happier were those pierced by the sword…

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Lamentations 4: 9 Happier were those pierced by the sword than those pierced by hunger, whose life drains away, deprived of the produce of the field. 

In the book of Lamentations the author describes the siege of Jerusalem and the ultimate defeat of Israel at the hands of the Babylonians. Many of God’s people died of starvation when their food supply was cut off during the siege. In that light, most of us would probably agree with v.9. A quick death is generally preferable to a slow death.

I’ve had the experience of seeing my share of people die slowly, often over the course of multiple years. There are some advantages to a slow death. One is able to say goodbye to loved ones, get one’s affairs in order, make peace with people and with God. This, of course, assumes a fairly high level of cognitive function in the process.

What is more difficult is when a person loses cognitive ability yet lives for years afterward. The body is alive, but the person is effectively absent. It’s heartbreaking in so many ways. I realize I don’t have power of life and death, only God. That said, it is my hope that when my time on earth is done I won’t linger.

Lord let it be so. Amen.

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