Pulling The Plug

It is perhaps the hardest decision anyone will have to make. The negative implications of choosing any of the options loom large over those who are given the task of deciding what future if any lies ahead. Choose to let her live and she might still die. Choose to pull the plug and her death is on your hands. Still, something has to be done. She can’t go on like this. She can’t exist in a coma like state. The way she’s propped up by life support is not really living but it’s not death either.

There were more options.

There weren’t just two; leaving her on life support or pulling the plug. The problem was it would take drastic measures to give her real life, meaningful life. She had survived for a long time as those who cared for her tried changing what they did. It prolonged her life, even for a while made it look like things were improving, but in the end they were of no value. It was going to take more than changing what they did, they would have to sacrifice, to transform how they lived. If they are unwilling there really was only one choice, pull the plug. Yes, the life support could have been left on but either way she would die. They could end it quickly, at least parts of her could be donated to help others or they could extend her life as parts of her slowly died, depleted in a feeble attempt to keep alive what was already dead. What was the right thing to do? What was the Godly thing to do? What best served those who still supported her and couldn’t let her go? What served those who saw a better life that would come out of letting her go?

We tried to explain how dire the situation was.

Even though we let her family know that the only hope she had was if they accept a total renovation of their lives when it came to her. Even though we said you and only you can make her life worth continuing. They argued. They fought. They disavowed the need for a transformation. They blindly insisted that she was healthy. They contradicted the advice of experts and the opinions of the family leaders. They felt that although she wasn’t in perfect health, she was only a small adjustment away from not only better health but thriving. That’s when we knew there was only one thing we could do, pull the plug.

We pulled the plug and we paid a price.

Some praised us for our willingness to do the hard thing, the unpopular thing but more attacked us for our plan saying we had no right to take her away from them. After almost ten years of steady decline, they still insisted that a miracle was just around the bend but we were stopping it from happening by pulling the plug. It was suggested that what we did was ungodly and motivated by some sort of conspiracy. People fought to keep her alive arguing against the legitimacy of the process while others verbally berated those who made the final decision. It was the right thing to do, the godly thing to do but as often happens when the right and godly thing is done, those doing it pay a price.

Her assets were passed on to a new generation.

Parts of her were given to others whose calling continued to be viable. What was no longer needed to keep the shell of her former self alive is now integrating into another become useful once again. What she had accumulated is now set aside to fund future great works overseen by those who are not tired and listless, old and worn out, like she had become.

Still, it was hard to let go. It was difficult to imagine life without her. It was and still is, unacceptable to some that she is no longer with us. You can’t please everyone but no matter how hard it is, no matter the size or strength of the opposition, no matter the abuse you receive the only person we should strive to please is God.

Almost three months ago we pulled the plug and a month later she was gone.

Most have moved on. Most are now pouring the part of their life once dedicated to her into another healthier one just like her. She is not forgotten but rather looked at as a part of the past that had great meaning in the lives of those who knew her, who rallied around her and have moved on. They have found a new place and realized how long she had been dead, how long they had kept her on life support, how long they had not lived the life they were meant to live because they had propped her up in a life she was no longer meant to have.

There are a few left that have not accepted the choice. They have not ventured out to replace her in their lives but rather hold onto her using anger to distance themselves from the reality that it was God’s will for her to die. Her time was up. Her mission completed. Maybe she could have done more but the opportunity for radical transformation had been written off as the wordsmithing of a well-spoken, well-meaning but completely wrong individual. She was fine and we were fine just the way we were. It was the rest of the people who needed to change and God that needed to listen to us as we instructed Him on how to keep her alive.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)


  1. Maybe it’s because it’s so late as I read this, but it took me almost until the end to realize you were talking about your church. There really are some profound similarities between letting a loved one go and closing a church so everyone can have a fresh start. Bless you for prayerfully making the decision and for taking the heat from those who don’t agree. Christians should really trust God enough not to hold onto the past, and be ready for what He has in store for them next. (Isn’t anything less than this idolatry?)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a hard call, and there are always hurt feelings during and after the decision. But, you are right, at times it is necessary to pull the plug and to try to relocate everyone to a place where they can be healthier because they are surrounded by health. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am hearing back that many had no idea how dead the church was until they started trying new churches – I feel for the other leaders – I’m paid to walk them through change and I found this tough – they were volunteers who have never seen such change let alone been responsible for overseeing it – God has honoured our commitment to his plan

      Liked by 1 person

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