The question of what constitutes quality of life is one often pondered in healthcare, and it is also one that Jesus addresses. In John chapter 10, verses 10-11, Jesus says,
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep."
God, who created life and gave us breath, wants us to experience it abundantly. He so earnestly desires that we experience this life in Him, that He sent Jesus to die on the cross and conquer death. It is through faith in Him, that we experience His grace and share in His life.
I realise that in every consult I do as a doctor, I have the precious opportunity to save lives, and not just physically. Moreover, I have this same opportunity to save lives outside the doctor's office, and we all do. God has given us abundant life, and He commands us to share this life with others – so what does this look like?
There is life in joy, even through suffering
Quality of life is often associated with the perception of happiness; how satisfied are we with our ability to function day to day? The joy God offers finds its source not in daily function, but in daily communion; do we hope in God today?
Joy helps us to love people even when we might be having a tough time ourselves. It keeps us going even when our physical function is limited. It shows us a satisfaction and a gladness that reaches deeper and lasts longer than what we know as ‘happiness.
Love is what helps us work through a busy day, keep a smile, and return the following day with the same attitude refreshed.
"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him."
(Psalm chapter 28, verse 7)
God's life comforts the lonely
The life we have in Christ was never meant to be a secret, but to be freely shared with all. Jesus reached out to prostitutes, tax collectors, and widows; and he reaches out to us in the loneliness created by sin when it separates us from God. He gives life in the shade of His presence and His lovingkindness.
When we see people alone, hurting, afraid or uncertain, we have that same life to give them. It comes in the arm of embrace, the word of encouragement, the walk of friendship. One day, there will be no more sin and no more crying, but until then we have every opportunity to bring the comfort of Christ into our broken world.
Isaiah chapter 61, verse 3 speaks about Jesus who was anointed to:
“… console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Relationship is important to life
Our world is curious to discover the fountain of life; what might help us to live longer, and better? Aged care services promote group activities, home supports bring personal contact with practical help, and mental health facilitators encourage community. What is it about relationships that foster life?
I greatly appreciate the blessing of fellowship, and it is something I thank God for often. Relationships are an avenue for the love of God to be released. They offer a reminder of identity (we are loved), community (we are in this together), encouragement (we can do this together), and hope (there is good to come). These are qualities of life-giving relationships like those referred to in Ecclesiastes chapter 4, verses 9-10:
"Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labour.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up."
God's life heals pain with hope
The one greatest thing about the life of God is that it saves; it really saves.
It overcomes death through the gift of eternal life found in the righteousness of Christ, and it saves our hearts daily with this hope. This hope gives us a life that overcomes every pain, discouragement and feeling of inadequacy we have and will ever face.
God’s life has saved me, and I want the whole world to experience it.
We have the opportunity every day to release the life of God to others. We give life to their hearts through joy; we give life in their dark moments through comfort and kindness; we give life through genuine loving relationships; and we give life through bringing hope to our broken world.
The life of God lives in us, and it is a light we ought to shine out brightly. So, let us live it out and see lives saved!
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house." (Matthew chapter 5, verses 14-15)
Kristen is a family doctor, and author of the e-book ‘An Internship with Jesus’. She lives with her husband in Adelaide and writes a weekly blog (lostnowfoundk) on life with God. Her second blog, Lily of the Valleys-K, aims to share her love for Jesus through music and art. See Kristen’s other articles at: https://lostnowfoundk.com/an-internship-with-jesus-ebook-christian-today-articles/