Jahi McMath, Ariel Sharon, and the Valley of Death

Heroic medical procedures can leave us in a limbo between life and accepting what's beyond

  • Oded Balilty / AP

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    I believe Omari Sealey when he says he has a strong faith. But a strong faith does think about the possibility of death. A strong faith accepts our limits as mortal creatures, including the limits of medicine and the ultimate limit of death.

    Of course, a strong faith also accepts the possibility of miracles. I believe there are genuine miracles. Nearly every doctor can attest to having seen recoveries that had no plausible medical explanation.

    But miracles are not the result of human or technological heroics. They come, if they come at all, when we are at the end of our heroics. And miracles are not magic. They do not come because we somehow persuade God to act by our strong faith. Sometimes, even for the most faithful, they do not come at all.

    What we ultimately fear about death, I think, is that we will die alone and that we will die without meaning. The real promise of faith is that our deaths need be neither lonely nor meaningless.

    The real hope for all of us is not that there is a machine that will save us but that even at the very end there will be someone who loves us, closer than our own breath. From what I've seen of those closest to Jahi McMath, that hope and faith is with her, stronger than any shadow.

    Crouch is the executive editor of Christianity Today and the author of Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power

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