Church and Culture

Forgetting “Fearfully and Wonderfully”

“I think there’s problem with the baby. I’m calling the doctor.”

I was at work when I heard my wife’s voice on the phone. I quickly prayed with her and told her to call me as soon as possible. Her next call was to tell me the doctor wanted to see her right away. An hour later, the news wasn’t good.

“We’ve lost the baby…”

In the intervening days and weeks, we grieved. Yes, the baby was only 10 weeks along, but it was a baby. Our baby… Our first…

Ten years earlier, our family planning had been altered by the addition of our first child – a child by adoption. She was a little blondie with Down Syndrome. Adopting a child with special needs was a big decision. We had taken her into our home three years earlier as a foster child, and when she came up for adoption, we knew what we needed to do.

Was it something we wanted to do? Sure, but it’s more complicated than that. From my wife’s experience as a behavior specialist, working with kids with disabilities, and our own experiences over the last three years as foster parents to this little girl, we knew life would be much more challenging. But most of the time, it seems, when God places a call on you, it’s not to the easy life. He never promised easy, but He promises His presence.

As I look back over the last 25 years with our forever child, it hasn’t been easy. (I’m just being honest!) It’s as if we were boarding a plane to France, but we ended up in Italy. Italy isn’t worse, it’s just different. I also now realize that God is developing in me, through the life of this little girl, things I never would have known otherwise. When I see her, the one who is the littlest among us, I think of Jesus. I see her, and I realize how she would have been the one He would have had on his lap.

There’s one other thing I am still learning from this little one: Grace! Scripture is constantly challenging me in my relationship with her: “Whatever you have done for the least of these…,” “…with the same measure you use….” I see the same mistakes and behaviors from her over and over, and when I get frustrated, I am gently reminded that is how I am when compared to a holy and perfect Jesus. When I want to speak harshly at times, instead of saying her name, I internally insert His name, and my attitude softens. “Would I treat Jesus that way?” I ask myself. The answer alters how I react.

I write about this now, after so many years, because of what we’ve seen recently in the media with the Planned Parenthood videos (some of which are here, here, and here). We’ve heard the videos were heavily edited, that they lacked context, and that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong. Okay, I don’t know how much is true or not true.

I care, but I don’t.

The videos aren’t the point.

Abortion is.

As this has erupted yet again, it’s the pictures of the pre-born, the babies, that have captivated me.

I should make one thing very clear: I’m not writing to anybody but the Church. If you’re a non-believer (or better said, a pre-Christian), this isn’t for you!

So why, exactly, do I feel the need to weigh in? It’s because of Scripture, I guess. Over the last year or so, the cry of my heart has been that I want to be like Jesus… I mean, really be like Him! I want to act like Him. I want to talk like Him.

I take Galatians 2:20 as my guide (and as inspiration for the name of this blog)

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…”

My friend, Jeremiah Bolich, said it best when he taught that I needed to treat people as Jesus would – that, as a man, I needed to see women as Jesus would and that, as a father, I needed to treat my children as Jesus would.

So, the obvious question: how does Jesus, the Creator, view abortion?

In the gospels, I never see Jesus as indifferent. There was no relativism in His character. Furthermore, if there was any class He favored, it was children. “Let the little children come to me” he told the disciples. “Their angels are always before the Father”.

The smallest ones, the most helpless ones – their advocate is Jesus himself.

How do we miss this? Really, how do we explain it away when we champion the abortion industry, or at least turn a blind eye to this travesty?

Wait, you don’t like abortion, or think it’s right, but you think a woman should have the right to choose? On what basis, Church? Is that what the Jesus inside you thinks? See it’s not just that I like the things that Jesus likes and act the way that Jesus acts. It’s also that my heart is broken for what breaks His! The killing of the unborn breaks his heart! Consider these words:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

My frame was not hidden from you when I was knit in the secret place, when I was woven together…

Your eyes saw my unformed body… (Psalm 139:13-14a,15a,16a NIV)

This is the heart of Jesus! The picture is absolutely clear.

Now consider, for a moment, something provocative. Read the last section of this Psalm as if it weren’t written by David. Read it as if it were written by one of the unborn children we have killed:

If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:19-24 NIV)

Too much of a stretch?

We quote the last verse regularly, but we recoil from what precedes it. Though inspired, this was written by one who lived a long life, a much different life than one who is suddenly taken from the most secure place of safety any of us will ever know and killed by the most brutal of all methods.

One last thing. If you’ve had an abortion, this can be brutal to think about. I recognize that. That breaks my heart as well. To the Jesus follower, He has forgiven. He has cast all this into the Sea of Forgetfulness and you will be reunited with your little one someday. A joyous reunion! Jesus knows your hurt, your grief, and your sorrow. Praise His name that he took care of all that on the cross. There is freedom and peace. And it’s found only in Him!

As for our little one, we really didn’t lose her. And yes, we believe it was a girl.

She’s with Jesus now…

Her name is Ellen.

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4 thoughts on “Forgetting “Fearfully and Wonderfully”

  1. bill says:

    My brother you speak with wisdom and compassion. The way I want to live my life is to walk as He walked, to speak what I heard Him say. Thank you for sharing your test-imony. I look forward to seeing what you share. These words are softening my heart towards the church I grew up in. Holy Spirit is teaching and comforting and equipping the way Jesus said He would. May you continue growing ever more into the image of God you are created to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kail Harbick says:

    I truly enjoyed reading your words.

    I like how you taught us to read a passage of the Bible in a different person’s point of view. “Read the last section of this Psalm as if it weren’t written by David. Read it as if it were written by one of the unborn children we have killed” (Alexander, 2015). In addition, how right you are! “We quote the last verse regularly, but we recoil from what precedes it” (Alexander, 2015). I have always only known and read the last part of that passage in Psalm (Psalm 139:19-24), and never paid much attention to the verses above it. However, I will now, thank you.

    Thank you for sharing about Ellen. You and your wife have been through some trials and the two of are an inspiration to me to trust in God during the difficult times.

    If the UPS man, can live with joy during the daily grind and what the world throws out him, well…so can I. (at least strive to).

    Thank you for sharing your heart! I didn’t even write half the stuff that I learned from reading your blog, know that I did. I am looking forward to the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Quotes Said By No Politician Ever | g220blog

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