Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Heart Transplants and Life

Just a few days ago it was national headlines that informed us that former Vice President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant. There are several points regarding this incredible procedure that should cause us to shake our heads in amazement:  the fact that we can take any organ out of another person and put it in someone else to enable them to live is nothing short of amazing. The fact that God created men and women with the ability to reason this way, is a tribute to His power and glory. It should also encourage us that we live in such a day that has remarkable medical technology and anytime this type of procedure is accomplished, we should celebrate such wonderful skill that God has given doctors who can treat us so effectively.
In all of these wonderful reports on how incredible we are as medical elites, I have yet to hear a single news report about how this technology never gets old, or even how far science has come along since the first heart transplant…all I hear about is if the 70+year old Cheney should have been given a heart transplant in the first place. Most news outlets never explain that he was on the waiting list a bit longer than the average person waiting for a heart - the key question that continually surfaces is “should a person his age receive a transplant.” And this is where we are as a society, is it not? We look at the value of life by the age and value a person brings to the world. This is the reason many of these same “medical ethicists” who say Mr. Cheney should have been deprived a heart transplant, would encourage a woman to abort a baby with Down Syndrome or some other defect that people would deem them to be “less valuable” than another person. I could care less if Mr. Cheney was Republican or Democrat; this has nothing to do with the man’s politics. But it has everything with how we should value a life, regardless of their age, regardless of their disability. Sadly, I would guess there are believers in our society that actually may think “should a 70 year old receive a heart when there is a 50 year old who needs it?” I guess to answer that question in an effective manner, it would depend on who the 70 year old is and who the 50 year old is, correct? I mean if the 70 year old is my dad, I would fight for his right to have a new heart, but if the 70 year old is someone I have never met, I may rule that the 50 year old would be a better choice.
I say all of this to simply point out that we can’t let the media fool us into believing one life is of more value than the other. The reason we even question things like this, is because as believers we have bought into the lie of the enemy to genuinely believe that the quality of life and what the person can do for the world, is all that matters. The truth is, Dick Cheney may be able to contribute to this world more in five years than the mentally handicapped child could in 50 years, but the mentally handicapped child’s life is just as valuable and should be just as cherished as a 70 year former Vice President or a 40 year old CEO of a major company. What gives us value is not what we bring to the table for mankind - what brings us value is the fact that we are created in the image of God. God did not only give us life, God providentially has given us our health, mental capacity and anything else we have. If you ask Mr. Cheney, I am sure when he was in his 30’s, 70 years seemed pretty old… but, not so much today. I remember thinking 40 was ancient, now it’s young and vibrant! I mean 40 for me IS the new 20…ok, maybe the new 38. Regardless, the point is that we as believers need to embrace that life is valuable not because of one’s ability to bless the world with their talents, but because God is the giver and taker of life!  He is the life giver - He is where value is found, not our age or our IQ.