Reading today in my human development textbook* on the decisions that agonize parents of abnormal children I was stirred by the powerful nature of our world's blindness to the truth of the Creator.
In the case study, a couple is discussing the implications of having a baby with Down syndrome...
"It's not as though we're deciding whether or not to have a baby. We're deciding what kind of baby we're willing to accept. If it's perfect in every way, we keep it. If it doesn't fit the right specifications, whoosh! Out it goes."...What do we live to do? If only they knew! This is why we share the gospel with people: they do not know what they were made to do -"to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever". To not know that God is our Maker, that sin destroys our ability fulfill our God-given purpose, that the cross and resurrection of Christ restores us to our God-glorifying destiny - to not know these things is an unspeakable tragedy. Without the gospel, life is meaningless. Without the gospel, we cannot see a hope or divine purpose in the gift of an abnormal child. Without the gospel, we will slaughter unwanted babies, and never know why it makes us feel bad. Without the gospel, we are in a wretched darkness that does not end when this life ends.
John was looking more and more confused. "Martha, why are you on this soapbox? What's your point?"
"My point is," I said, "that I'm trying to get you to tell me what you tink constitutes a 'defective' baby. What about...oh, I don't know, a hyperactive baby? Or an ugly one?"
"They can't test for those things and --"
"Well, what if they could?" I said. "Medicine can do all kinds of magical tricks these days. Pretty soon we're going to be aborting babies because they have the gene for alcoholism, or homosexuality, or manic depression...."
"Look," he said, "I know I can't always see things from your perspective. And I'm sorry about that. But the way I see it, if a baby is going to be deformed or something, abortion is a way to keep everyone from suffering - especially the baby. It's like shooting a horse that's broken its leg.... A lame horse dies slowly you know?...It dies in terrible pain. And it can't run anymore. So it can't enjoy life even if it doesn't die. Horses live to run; that's what they do. If a baby is born not being able to do what other people do, I think it's better not to prolong its suffering."
"And what is it," I said softly..."what is it that people do? What do we live to do, the way a horse lives to run?"
How sweet, then, is the light that God causes to dawn on darkened hearts, to give us "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God"(2 Cor. 4:4, ESV) , who restores that image in us, and who will work all things in our life for good. How sweet it is. If only they knew.
*The Developing Person Through the Life Span by Kathleen Stass Berger, 7th ed.