Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Woman's Choice - A Reprise

I posted this piece three years ago. It's not easy to read, and it was no fun to write, but sadly it seems fitting to share it again.
I woke up the the other day with this story in my head. It's not the kind of thing I usually post. But the Lord Jesus is Lord of life, and sadly our nation has embraced a culture of death. And where will it end? God's word says, Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3, NLT)

“Beth, you’ve got to help me.” Ally was hunched over on the couch, hands clenched around a wad of Kleenex already damp from her tears. “Please. I know we don’t know one another very well, but I don’t know who else to talk to.”
            Beth scooted her chair a little closer. “Well, sure, I’ll help you. What’s going on?”
            Ally closed her eyes, shook her head, and more tears began to track down her cheeks. Beth sat silently, praying a little, and finally whispered, “Whatever it is, I know we can get through this together.”
            After more tears, Ally took a deep breath and in a strangely emotionless voice said, “I don’t want to be a mother.” She glanced quickly at Beth’s face, and then cut her eyes away, looking down. “It’s probably not right, but I’m just not ready. I just can't do it.”
            “Honey, I understand. I have three, and they are a handful.” She paused, and gently took Ally’s hands in hers. “So what does Bill say?”
            “He doesn’t know I’m struggling. The idea of being a dad is great for him, but he doesn’t have to deal with anything. I’m here all day, and he leaves for work, and it all falls on me.” She started sobbing again.
            “Well, okay. I understand perfectly, and men are men, right? They never do any of the heavy lifting. We women have to stick together and make the hard decisions, don’t we?” Beth smiled, and for the first time Ally looked up and smiled too.
            “So when is the little one due to arrive?”
            “He gets home from preschool at 11:30. I’ve made up my mind. I think it's best for everybody. If you can help me, I was hoping we could do it today, before he has to have a nap.”
“Okay, you just sit tight. I’ll call and set it up. And I’ll be with you the whole way.”
*                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *
“Hi, I’m calling about  a – I think they call it a PPA. Post-partum abortion. You do that, right? Okay, sure…no, for a friend of mine…It’s a little boy, I think he’s three...No, it’s just not working out…Of course, she’ll sign whatever you want…Two o’clock this afternoon? Okay, that’ll be fine. So we just drop him off, and you handle the rest? How long does it take?... It doesn’t, you know, hurt does it? Oh, great. See you at 2.        
*                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *
The front door banged open. “Hi, Mommy, I’m home.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat is an amazing book. The author, Daniel James Brown, made me interested in a sport I never cared about – rowing. I came to admire the young men – they called themselves “boys” – who rowed to Olympic gold in 1936. I was mesmerized by the story of nine young blue collar guys with no money, no college scholarships, and seemingly no chance, who stuck it to the Third Reich and struck a blow for liberty, impossible dreams, and American exceptionalism.

They rowed for the University of Washington, but they did all of America proud. They came up when America was down, mired in the Great Depression, with millions out of work. Hitler’s Germany was on the rise, and the Berlin Summer Games was a propaganda colossus engineered by Hitler and Goebbels to assure the world that Germany was no threat to anyone.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Too Wonderful For Me

The other day I was composing an email to try to send some comforting words to a friend who had just suffered a devastating loss. As I typed, Psalm 131 flashed into my mind. This short psalm has been such a comfort to me over the years. Written by King David, it is only three verses. 
1 O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.
“I don’t involve myself in great matters,” David says in v. 1. “Great matters”- the Hebrew adjective is repeated: “great great.” As if someone were walking through life with a loud voice, acting important.

Nor does he involve himself in things that are “too marvelous” for him. The NIV say “too wonderful.” In Hebrew “wonderful” often refers to God’s miracles. A form of the word is used in Isaiah 9:6 - His Name is wonderful.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

An Angry Mob and the Power of Prayer

The little family heard the mob before they saw them. The angry voices seemed random at first, like a dispute in the marketplace or hot-headed men arguing over a traffic accident. But then the volume of Arabic words grew, shouted in unison by more and more voices.

As Christian missionaries they understood the risks of living in a Muslim country, but their home was in a good part of the city, just a few blocks from one of the royal palaces. Then the horror of seeing the chanting mob marching toward them confirmed their worst fears.