Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stand With God for Life

[The third Sunday of January has become "National Sanctity of Life Day" in the US. Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush have issued proclamations throughout their terms (President Clinton declined) for this day to be a reminder of the travesty of abortive rights in our country since Roe v. Wade in 1973. Below is my column for this Sunday's Outer Banks Sentinel.]

I believe in the sanctity of human life, primarily because I believe life is sacred and God is all about giving and protecting life. But sometimes such beliefs contradict conventional wisdom.

Years ago I heard that abortion might be permissible in certain cases, like to protect the life of the mother. OK. That sounded reasonable to me. But some would argue, "Come on. How often does a pregnancy put the life of the mother at risk?"

It's easy to proclaim yourself to believe in something that never touches you; that you never experience up front and personal. And it's easy to work into positions compromises based on "logic". Until it dares you face to face.

When my son and daughter in law discovered they were expecting the day before she was to being preliminary physical therapy in preparation for a double lung transplant they had to make a choice. Clearly such a pregnancy would compromise the window of opportunity for a transplant as well as her fragile health. Plainly put, carrying a baby to term would likely not happen, and the chances of her surviving such a pregnancy were slim.

So they were counseled by the medical community which cares for her to abort. The greatest medical minds said the risk is too high. Being pregnant now is the worst possible scenario. And from a human and scientific perspective they were right.

But they were wrong. So my son and daughter-in-law said "No" to the scientific rationale. Their reasoning? God is the Creator of life. They made a choice to be willing to risk her life, believing that God in His sovereignty had all this in His plan for them.

It defies logic. But sometimes that's exactly what faith does: stares finite human reasoning in the face and says "You're wrong because God is always right". Do I have all the answers to all the questions? No. That’s why I’ve chosen to trust God. He does.

Convictions don't come without a price. Belief in moral absolutes is so politically incorrect these days. But obedience never comes without reward. This story hasn't yet come to its conclusion, although it's getting there rapidly. But regardless of the outcome, it's what God thinks and reveals that counts.

So for me, being "pro-life" has moved from being a political stance or even a theological tenet. As a new grandfather of an animated, expressive beautiful girl, born January 8 I’m more convinced than ever how precious and sacred is life. She grips with her hands, grimaces when her diaper is changed; kicks her feet, opens her eyes. I dream of the day when she’ll play at the beach and chase her dog around the house and sit on my lap.

Born in her 24th week, a time when some would have us believe she still was not qualified to possess life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, she is a tiny witness (all 1 lb. 6 oz. of her) to life.

I no longer can stand at a distance and give token support to something I say I believe. My belief was challenged by circumstances beyond my control that faced me and those closest to me and forced a choice we will never regret. Partly because of the outcome; mostly because it was the right thing to do. It's become experience, and that makes it as real as real can get.

On this day especially, I’m not standing afar. I believe I’m standing with the Creator who gives life.


©2008 Rick Lawrenson

23 comments:

Leslie said...

Excellent article! I'm so happy Nathan and Tricia chose life. Gwyneth is such a precious blessing! Still praying and so glad to hear Tricia's awake!
Love, Leslie

Debra said...

If you haven't submitted this yet, 4th paragraph, 1st sentence has a typo. (I used to be a proof-reader) Do you want the word "begin" instead of "being"?

I love reading your updates! You put such feeling into what you write.

Debra said...

EXCELLENT article, by the way!

Rick Lawrenson said...

Thanks Debra!

Annie- Nashville said...

Excellent article. God has truly given you a 'way with words' and is using that for His Glory. Praise God that Nathan and Tricia are "Pro Life" and they chose life! Gwyneth is going to be such a testimony to God's faithfulness. Bless you and your family as you continue on this journey! I look forward to the post with a picture of her running on the beach after the dog!!! To God be the Glory!!!!

Barb said...

Thank you for eloquently standing for God's truths, Rick. As a mother of four, I can remember the first time I felt my son move inside me. If anything confirmed that the unborn is life, that was it. [I wasn't yet a believer.] Praying here in Ohio for the precious lives of Gwenyth, Tricia and Nathan. Bless you all for opening your hearts and lives to us and allowing us to pray.

Patty said...

Wonderful article Rick

clayholley said...

amen, preacher, well said! and, by the way, keep dancing!

clayholley said...

amen, preacher, well said! and, by the way, keep dancing!

CJolly said...

So well said! And so right!!!

foytix said...

Amen! What a great article.

Sonia and Jong said...

I am so with you. I was pg with boy-girl twins when our daughter's water broke at 18 weeks. We are expats living in Japan and we started calling doctors in the US our friends referred us to and each doctor, including a doctor who is active in a friend's church and bible study, all strongly recommended us to abort at that point as the situation was hopeless and the risk of infection to me was too high.

We decided to carry our babies for as long as possible and thank our Lord our ob-gyn here supported our decision. We ended up having an emergency C-section at 23 weeks 0 days as an infection started labor for me. It was a long road for our son Isaac Samuel - 6 months in NICU and a full year of supplemental O2 but he is now a wonderful 1.5 year old boy (by adjusted age) who is so full of life and energy. Even our daughter Rachel Grace lived for 102 minutes before going to heaven despite not having any water to grow her lungs since week 18.

I have always been pro-life as a committed Christian but this is personal to me now. I have witnessed how amazing life is from a stage when life is not considered "viable" from the perspective of medical science.

Please count on me to be praying for Nathan, Tricia and Gwen.

Sonia
www.soniaandjong.blogspot.com

Rick Lawrenson said...

Thanks for sharing that, Sonia. How easy it is to discount God and look at everything from our eyes only.

Anonymous said...

Rick,

What is your feeling about confirmed conditions incompatible with life such as the diagnosis of the baby have anencephaly?

Just curious....

Rick Lawrenson said...

There are no easy answers. But to me, the heart of the matter is that "the Lord gives, the Lord takes away".

By that I mean that God is the only One qualifed to be the arbiter of who lives and who doesn't.

Sonia and Jong said...

If its okay, I would also like to answer Anonymous by posting a link to this video that documents the life of little Elliot who had Trisomy 18 and who defied all conventional wisdom and lived for 99 days and blessed so many people who came across his story -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th6Njr-qkq0

And also with these verses:

I Corinthians 1:26-31--
"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

Sarah said...

Excellent article. I hope you don't mind that I put a link to it on my blog. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Sonia. I don't object to anybody holding the belief that a baby in such circumstances should live. What I worry about is judgement that is placed on families who decide that the grief is simply too much when they receive news of a condition incompatible with life.

Trudi said...

When I found I was pregnant a second time, my partner told me I had to have an abortion or it would 'ruin both our lives'.
I went ahead with the pregnancy and had a beautiful baby girl, whom I can only describe as a blessing. She's never met her father and I've never seen him since the night I told him.
Sometimes things get stressful with work and raising both the girls, but I've been blessed with wonderful support from my family and my church. I have never regretted my decision and I know if I had terminated the pregnancy I would have been left with a huge regret.
Thank you for your article and stepping up and speaking out I pray today that someone will read your article and their path will be changed.

Anonymous said...

"....forced a choice we will never regret".
Choice is truly a beautiful thing. I wonder, does it mean as much if there is no opportunity to chose?

Rick Lawrenson said...

Choice is only a beautiful thing when the choice made is right. Otherwise choice is a horrible thing.

So that begs the question: who decides what is right and what is wrong. That drives us back to the question of absolutes. And if there are absolutes (and I believe there must be, otherwise we must live in an amoral world or relativism), then where did they originate?

Which drives us back to God. And the history of mankind has shown that when choices are made based on God's moral absolutes the choices are always right.

Hopesrising said...

Excellent article.
I remember back twenty two years ago when my best friend Peggy was dxed with breast cancer. She was 4 months pregnant with Rachel. I remember all her doctors saying that there was no way she would make it or the baby through chemo. It was one or the other. I remember sitting around the table all of us discussing our thoughts on pro-life. All we could come up with was*God is the only who gives life and takes it away.*
All of us prayed and one thing we prayed for as a Doc who thought maybe there were other ways around having to abort the baby.
So many good things feel in to place on Peggy's behalf and the baby.
Rachel was born full term and healthy. There were many there for her birth even NICU Doctors. Who witnessed so much that day.
After 6 long yrs with cancer Peggy died. But one thing that still sends chills through me thinking about it. Is what a devote Christian she was and how she never waivered on what she felt at the time. She and her Husband stuck firmly to the beliefs they had and that I admire that totally.
Rachel is now twenty two and I can't imagine live without her. She has been such a blessing to her family and all of us who prayed for her well being.

Its really something years later her oncologist is now mine. We have had some discussions about pro life and the life in general. About the importance of life verses the thoughts about medical science.

As a mom of three. I have other genetic issues and I didn't know about them till after I had my kids. But its clear now why I had the problems I did. As hard as it all was. There is now way I would of done it differently had I known.

My choice would of not been any different then it was.

Nath's Tricia's and Gwyneths story has been such a blessing to so many. Keeping them in prayer.

Kerry

Hopesrising said...

Excellent article.
I remember back twenty two years ago when my best friend Peggy was dxed with breast cancer. She was 4 months pregnant with Rachel. I remember all her doctors saying that there was no way she would make it or the baby through chemo. It was one or the other. I remember sitting around the table all of us discussing our thoughts on pro-life. All we could come up with was*God is the only who gives life and takes it away.*
All of us prayed and one thing we prayed for as a Doc who thought maybe there were other ways around having to abort the baby.
So many good things feel in to place on Peggy's behalf and the baby.
Rachel was born full term and healthy. There were many there for her birth even NICU Doctors. Who witnessed so much that day.
After 6 long yrs with cancer Peggy died. But one thing that still sends chills through me thinking about it. Is what a devote Christian she was and how she never waivered on what she felt at the time. She and her Husband stuck firmly to the beliefs they had and that I admire that totally.
Rachel is now twenty two and I can't imagine live without her. She has been such a blessing to her family and all of us who prayed for her well being.

Its really something years later her oncologist is now mine. We have had some discussions about pro life and the life in general. About the importance of life verses the thoughts about medical science.

As a mom of three. I have other genetic issues and I didn't know about them till after I had my kids. But its clear now why I had the problems I did. As hard as it all was. There is now way I would of done it differently had I known.

My choice would of not been any different then it was.

Nath's Tricia's and Gwyneths story has been such a blessing to so many. Keeping them in prayer.

Kerry