My Life: Not My Own But God’s

Rev. Michael Plagenz


Physician assisted suicide is a controversial topic today. I once saw a report stating 66% of 998 people surveyed favored “closely regulated doctor-assisted suicide.” As confessional Lutheran Christians, we know that any kind of suicide or mercy killing is against God’s will. Yet all the controversy prompts us to ask this question: “Whose life is this anyway?”

So many today think their life belongs to them. After all, we say, “It’s my life.” If that is true, then it makes perfect sense for me to do something to end “my” life if I don’t like the way it’s going, or the future looks to be filled with many painful times. Psalm 31:15 holds out a different view of life. The Psalmist David wrote, “my times are in your hands.” Simply put, this means that my life is not my own; it belongs to God. At first glance, that may seem to carry all sorts of negative baggage. This removes my right to choose when to die. That choice is not mine; it belongs to God. It means that if things are going badly for me, I can’t quit. I have to just grin and bear it. It means someone else is telling me what to do, how to live, and when to die. Does that kind of control make us feel uncomfortable?

On the other hand, let us consider the upside of all of this. If God really made the world in six days (and the Bible says He certainly did), and if I have trouble making a birdhouse, then who is in a better position to take charge of “my” life? Who has more wisdom, knowledge, and power to know what’s best? Who can see past the here and now to the eternal consequences of things? Recognizing that my life belongs to God is kind of like taking the steering wheel away from a child and giving it to a responsible adult.

But, before I really let go of “my” life and give it to God, maybe I ought to find out what He wants me to do with it. What does He have in mind for me? Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” What God said to the Jews, He says to us. He has some great things in mind for us! That is why He sent His Son to die for our sins. The proof of this is found in the cross and the empty Easter tomb. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) He also said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

“My times are in your hands.” When David wrote this, he was not complaining. Instead, he was expressing a wonderful comfort. Just think – our life and our future are being held by the same hands that were nailed to the cross to save us for eternal life in heaven!

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