Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quality of Life: A Hellish Formula

Psalm 139:13-16: For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

A paraphrase of a quote from Pastor Luke J. Robinson during the 2008 Sanctity of Human Life Rally in Peoria, Illinois:

‘Some people say that life begins at birth. Others say that it begins at conception. But my God is so pro-life that He said “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.”’

January 22, 1973 brought a sinister welcome to abortion on demand in America. The Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade was a wakeup call for the church. Demonstrations and organizations sprung up like the spring grass. But, in the 35 years that have passed, it seems many don’t bother themselves with the disturbing fact that children are being murdered in our backyards. Protests take time. And it’s cold in January. As I reported a few months back, the Life Chain in Peoria this past summer stirred only a couple hundred Believers. To me, the apathy is appalling. Human life is precious. We must prove by our actions that we believe and remember it!

If we forget, there may come a day when doctors evaluate even live births to assess if they are worthy to live. They may come up with a quantitative way to assess a child’s home life (HL), potential contribution to society (CS), and physical “natural endowment,” a child’s physical condition at birth (NE). They may combine these factors into some mathematical equation and come up with a Quality of Life Index (QL). If a child scores above this mark, they are worthy to live. Fall below, and they are left to die.

Science fiction? No indeed. Such a formula [(HL + CS) * NE = QL] was used by Children's Hospital of Oklahoma, in Oklahoma City from 1977 to 1982 to evaluate children born with Spina Bifida. During this period, 24 children were determined to be better off dead and left to die.

This story is important to me. You see, my wife, Stacy, was born with Spina Bifida in the 60’s, the day after her birthmother turned sixteen. Ginger, her birthmother, was one of eight children—the oldest in the household. No doubt being brought up in a home full of little ones helped develop in this young mother an understanding and appreciation for the life growing within her womb—because when faced with that crisis pregnancy, what she chose for Stacy was life.

Stacy was placed into the family of her adoptive parents when she was eighteen months old. By God’s grace, they chose to take on a child who was past infancy, loaded with hefty medical bills, and facing future difficult surgeries. Yet despite all that, they brought Stacy home and called her their own. Years later, when God captured the heart of my wife, He revealed to her the providential Hand that had protected and guided her throughout her life.

By a series of incredible events, Stacy was introduced to her birth grandparents and all of her birthmother’s siblings, nieces and nephews, and aunts and uncles, soon after her twenty-first birthday. She even had the opportunity to know her great grandmother. Ginger was allowed to hold and rock Stacy during brief visits to the hospital during her infancy. She was even baptized in her birthmother’s Christening gown. Sadly, because Stacy was so young, she has no recolection of these short meetings. Ironically, Ginger was twenty-one years old when she died in a tragic automobile accident – the same age Stacy was when she was reunited with the family.

Since that time, not only has Stacy grown to appreciate her adoptive parents in new ways, she has also grown close to her birth family—especially her grandparents. When asked about her thoughts on God’s providential hand in her life, she says this: “I stand amazed and humbled that God spared my life and, by His grace, given me the chance to raise ten beautiful children for His glory.”

When I gaze upon my children, I marvel at the way God weaved His thread of Providence throughout the intricate fabric of Stacy’s life. And yes, I am thankful for the precious gift of that life—a gift that is continuing into future generations.

This gift of life—given by God—is denied to so many. In our human deception, we are too often convinced by the enemy that some precious souls are not deemed fit to live. Some may be conceived during an “inconvenient” time of life; or somehow we are persuaded to believe that the life of the mother is more important than the life of the child. In other cases the child is not even considered human while in the protective confines of the womb—thus murder is treated as a form of “birth control,” without any thought at all to the precious life being snuffed out.

May we continue to fight for the sanctity of all life. May we view it in the preborn, the handicapped, the elderly, the helpless, and the infirmed as a gift from the Lord. It is the God-breathed spirit of our Heavenly Father (Genesis 2:7) that gives quality to life. Such worth is not determined by a doctor or by the state.

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