I rarely get “political” on this blog, though we all know I am DEFINITELY not, nor do I care about being, “politically correct”. My faith in Christ is no secret and while I don’t run around beating people over the head with it, I hope I live and write in such a way that it [...]
I rarely get “political” on this blog, though we all know I am DEFINITELY not, nor do I care about being, “politically correct”. My faith in Christ is no secret and while I don’t run around beating people over the head with it, I hope I live and write in such a way that it is obvious where my hope lies and by Whose standards I measure my choices and beliefs.
This afternoon my heart is heavy and I find myself swinging between crushing sadness and disbelief to outright anger. I take for granted, most days, the relative good health of our family. We certainly have our challenges in the health arena, but nothing that has prevented us from finding or providing the care our children need, when it’s called for. I also take for granted that “the powers that be” who have been given the great gift of skill and talent to heal and the responsibility for that care, for the most part, recognize that it IS a gift; and that their responsibility and calling is limited to providing the best possible health treatment available to them, NOT determining who is valuable enough to receive it. That we have devolved, in the United States of America, to a level that such an attitude is not immediately crushed out of existence is appalling. People are not God. No mere person has the right to decide whose life has enough value to continue.
This story came to my attention this morning, as I read a fellow blogger’s post and I am compelled to share it, because it is an issue that is bigger than any of us and that any one of us could face, in the future, should we allow it to go unchallenged. Today, in Philadelphia, (the City of Brotherly Love), a young girl lies in need of a kidney transplant. By the grace of God a matching donor is available and ready for surgery, immediately. The girl’s name is Amelia and the donor is a member of her own family. That’s correct. This family is not asking to remove an organ from the donor list. They are supplying one, themselves. All that is needed is a team to conduct the surgery and a place for it to happen and for her to recover. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has the means to provide both, but in their great wisdom, has determined that Amelia’s “quality of life” does not meet their standard of valuable enough to live, because Amelia is cognitively impaired. A person they deem to be “mentally retarded” is not entitled to the life-sustaining care that others can expect at CHOP, because they have a “lesser quality of life”. By what power or authority do they believe they are allowed to determine such a thing? Outrageous!
What is a “lesser quality of life”? I have family members who suffer from both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. It has literally ravaged both sides of my family for decades. Theirs would not be considered a “normal” life by medical standards. Do they deserve to live? My youngest sister has multiple sclerosis and spends most of her life immobile, needing help with almost every function of life we so blindly take for granted. Her life would likely not meet the heartless and ruthless standards of “quality”, established by this “institution of healing”, yet I can tell you emphatically that her life has value beyond what those of us without “diminished capacity” will likely ever understand. There are people in my family and in my church who have suffered from illnesses that have left them developmentally disabled, unable to walk for a time and unable to feed themselves without assistance. Do they deserve to live? There are those in this nation who live well below the poverty level, who struggle to see that their family receives even one meal a day. They don’t have homes to go to. What is their “quality of life”? Quality of life is not determined by an arbitrary list of man-made physical circumstances or standards! Where would we draw the line? Would you and your family be safe tomorrow? “Quality of life” is determined by the One who gave it, who lovingly created it and has purpose for each one. In our arrogant, close-minded and superficial way of thinking, we cannot even begin to grasp the joy and happiness that sweet Amelia brings to the world, what she teaches those around her or the happiness that those people bring to her. Her “purpose” doesn’t fit into the neat little man-created package of what has value. Oh, if only we could see Amelia and her value through the eyes of the Magnificent One who created her! What we would understand and see then, would drive us to our knees. At least I hope it would. I pray it will.
What can you do? Add your name to this petition to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, asking them to provide the surgery that Amelia needs to receive her family member’s kidney. Pray for her and her family and those who have decision-making power in this situation. Read her mother’s story, and stop for one moment to think of the people you know, the people you love and if they will someday meet man’s arbitrary standard of “quality of life”. Who will speak for THEM?
I’m talking about something much more powerful than a New Year’s Resolution. I’m talking about the kind of resolve that doesn’t fade away after the middle of January. I don’t have any. In my own power and on my own steam, I can’t accomplish anything worthwhile for very long. The power of Christ in a [...]
I’m talking about something much more powerful than a New Year’s Resolution. I’m talking about the kind of resolve that doesn’t fade away after the middle of January. I don’t have any.
In my own power and on my own steam, I can’t accomplish anything worthwhile for very long. The power of Christ in a human life is an awesome force and it occurs to me that all those failed New Year’s resolutions have more to do with not having Him in the planning and implementation, than not having a good resolution. And, while there will inevitably be “human failure”, to highly resolve means that I don’t have to count on my own power to “make it right” and start again. “5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.” — Proverbs 3:5-8
Now, to what I resolve, through the grace of God and no power of my own. I resolve to see the person, before I see the perceived offense — to consider what their circumstance might be, before I let them know how I perceive that they have messed up. Lord, when I get chicken nuggets instead of a cheeseburger, give me the calm spirit and words to correct the situation, not belittle the person. When the order that was supposed to arrive by Christmas, guaranteed, shows up on January 4th instead, remind me that the gift is still special and realistically, no one was harmed by the wait. When my order is slow getting to the table, or not exactly as I have ordered it, Lord, I pray that you will cause me to pause for one moment and become acutely aware of the “mere human” before me. Help me to remember the mercy and grace I hope to receive when I have been “only human”.
I have recently been made aware that it is impossible to know the circumstance that may have led to the minor infraction of another person — the one I have chosen to become so annoyed at and about. There are a myriad of examples. Our recent blizzards and snowstorms have rendered many people housebound and their positions at work unfilled. The duties of a six-person office have often been juggled by three or four people. Most people won’t see or ever know about the hardship of those dedicated workers, but will focus instead on the inconvenience of the extra time their appointment is taking.
Would you be as upset about a mishandled restaurant order if you knew that your waiter had suffered the loss of a child, recently; or the only car he depended on to get to work and support his family had been totaled in a collision that morning? How can you know what might be pressing so hard on his heart, that even though he is trying his best, he can’t focus on your order? And if we did know, wouldn’t you or I respond with compassion and patience? Unless we are actually foolish enough to believe that a waiter/ service technician/ office manager/ spouse/ child, etc., set out to intentionally target us for irritation, we will move into 2010 with new eyes. Like the song, Lord, “Give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see, Everything that I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken-hearted, Ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me your eyes so I can see.”
There are multitudes of people who will be willing to berate, belittle, and humiliate those around them. As Christians, it is critically important that we allow Christ to lead us to do the opposite of what our human nature beckons us to. More important even than the positive effect we may have on someone who is hurting, is the picture we paint of the One we represent. Many in this world will only know Christ and Christians by the way we portray them with our words and actions. Has the world been seeing Christ, lately, when they are seeing you and me? Lord, please lead me to let my words and actions shine a light on You and Your love and Your mercy. Let them represent the truth about You and You living in me. Please give me a soft and compassionate heart. Let me pause long enough to see a person, someone You created and love, with circumstances I can’t begin to understand. When I am in a hurry or in a tizzy, wanting my “pound of flesh”, please stop me in my tracks and extend your mercy and grace to the person I am so tempted not to see.
“1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. 3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good. 4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” – Proverbs 15:1-4
“23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips. 24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” — Proverbs 16:23 & 24
Lord, make my words like honeycomb. Let them heal the soul and bring health to the bones. Please put a soft answer in my heart and on my tongue, so those I meet will see You and Your love when they hear me speak. In Jesus’ Holy name, Amen.