Brittany Maynard's medical death sentence. A young wife, in love with her husband, looking forward to having children. Told that her incurable cancer would, after a painful decline, take her young life.
Her decision to take the pill that would end her life on the day - and in the way - of her choosing. Her state's "assisted suicide" law afforded her that choice.
Her decision has added a face and more fuel to what is one of the deeply emotional debates of our time. Should a person have the right to legally abbreviate their suffering and hasten their death?
Some are quick to pass judgment on a woman who is gone and grieved. Some are quick to canonize her as the symbol of a crusade to legalize a decision like hers.
But I'm processing this on a personal level. I'm thinking about young people we've loved who've chosen to die. Because of the pain of a break-up or a tragedy. I've been at their agonizing funerals. I've held the shattered loved ones, devastated for life by their loved one's choice.
And I remember the people who've deeply touched my life - and many others - with the supernatural hope they radiated from their deathbed suffering.
For me, I cling to the Bible's assertion that "all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be." And that "man's days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months..." (Job 14:5). God has given me my life.
But for all the questions this tragic situation has raised, they leave unaddressed the most important question death raises.
Not about what leads up to it. But what happens after it.
Again, I'm driven to the only One I believe can be trusted as the authority on that question. The One who gave me my life. In the world's best-selling book, the Bible, it says, "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment."
That is, to say the least, disturbing. But vital to know.
I actually think many of us have a sense of that buried somewhere in our soul. That we'll meet God on the other side of our last heartbeat. And face our defiance of the One who made us. By pushing Him to the edge of the life He gave us. And hijacking the running of our lives from our Creator.
Our worst nightmares are often about not being prepared. For a meeting, a speech, a wedding, a test. But the real nightmare is being unprepared for my appointment with God. That's why the Jewish prophet Amos said, "Prepare to meet your God."
I know only one way to be ready to meet a sinless God. My only hope is to have every sin of my life - of which there are many - somehow erased.
Then I hear across the centuries the words of Jesus as He was dying on the cross. "Father, forgive them." The Bible actually says that Jesus "carried our sins in His own body on the tree." My sins included. Paid for.
I decided to take Jesus at His word. "Whoever believes in the Son [Jesus] has eternal life." That's the word Jesus added to "life." "Eternal."
I believe Him because He didn't just talk about eternal life. He proved He has it to give. By walking out of His grave three days after He died. He's the only one who ever has.
He has answered forever death's most important question - "Are you ready to meet the God who's on the other side?"