Dying that another may live is the greatest gift that anyone can give or receive. This is what our Lord Jesus Christ did for us. His sacrifice for the sins of the world…and for every person is hard to put in words. Maybe we can understand it better if we put it in a different context. We hear so much today about the rights of a woman to have an abortion…if she so desires. It is especially stressed by some, that an abortion would be acceptable if the health of the woman was at risk. Some women know that risk and are willing to take it that her child might live. Let me share a true story of one such woman.
Liz Joice and her husband, Max, found out they will have a child after thinking they will not be able to do so. The mother refuses a test and treatment that may harm the fetus. She loses her own life in this choice, but gives the gift of life to her child and to her husband and family. Having made this comparison to the greatest sacrifice of our Lord to that of a mother and a child, here are some details as told to the news media about Elizabeth Joice and her baby, Lily.
Cancer survivor Elizabeth Joice was told the chemotherapy that helped her beat sarcoma in 2010 would also leave her infertile, so when she and husband, Max, got the news that she was in fact pregnant, he said, “It very much felt like a miracle,” he tells CNN.
The happy news, however, was short-lived. Just a month into her pregnancy, Joice’s cancer returned, and though surgeons removed tumors from her back, there was no way of knowing how far the cancer had spread without a full-body MRI scan. But the dyes used in the scan could harm the baby, meaning she’d need to end the pregnancy before undergoing the procedure.
Joice opted to continue with her pregnancy but began having trouble breathing in her third trimester; an X-ray revealed tumors in her lungs. Jan. 23 brought both joy and devastation. Joice had a baby girl, Lily, via C-section, but “there were tons of tumors…” her doctor tells ABC News. “It had spread all over her abdomen.”
Tumors were also found in Joice’s heart and pelvis. She died six weeks later, on March 9. Still, her doctor remembers the first time she saw Joice hold her baby. “The joy on her face was just incredible,” she says.
“She said, ‘This is worth it … I would do it all again to have this child.’”
Elizabeth Joice died to save her child, Lily Joice. Jesus died to give us life…and to give it abundantly. “No greater love has any man (or woman) than to lay down his (or her) life for another. (as paraphrased from John 15:13)