A guest post from my wife Katie.
Someone once told me this about deeply troubled children:
“It would have been better for these children to have been aborted as fetuses than to live such tragic lives.”
I disagreed then.
Recently, though, the overwhelming realities of my young people’s lives confronted me again. As I witnessed more heartbreak, lives filled with more tragic events than years, and little ones who only know anger, frustration, anxiety, and self-hate, that comment came back to mind.
You see, every day I look at the faces of children who have no fathers, whose mothers have been incarcerated, who have lost loved ones to gang-related violence, who have suffered their own abuse by those who are supposed to protect them, whose families know first-hand the tragedies of drug and alcohol addiction. This brokenness occasionally makes me wonder of their mothers, “Why would you knowingly bring a child into this?”
But I am reminded of what I tell my son at night when he is scared: “My God is big.” My God can redeem these lives, that heartache. But these lives have ONLY known brokenness, right? They experienced it from before birth. Does that make a difference? No. Because we are all broken. We were all born into a sinful, ugly, broken existence. That sin and its effects just manifest themselves in different ways in each of our lives.
My God is not surprised. He is not overwhelmed. My God is angered with a righteous anger and He desires justice. He will continue to bring about His kingdom. And we are able play a role in that. We are told to obey, to defend the helpless, and to care for the weak. I continue to believe that those lives — and their births — matter to God.
And when I am tempted to doubt this truth, to wonder why a mother would knowingly bring a child into such a broken life, I answer my own question with a familiar story of another mother who did that very thing.
One young boy was the only surviving child in a village massacre. Then his mother abandoned him in infancy. As the boy grew older he developed a speech disorder. He gained the favor of his adoptive family, but one day he killed a man and was so overcome with grief that he ran away from the only home he ever knew. Would this life have been better off ended before birth? His mother was convinced otherwise, and she tried to save her son’s life anyway she could.
The child’s life was redeemed by God as He spoke to him through a burning bush. Then, He used that troubled life to redeem the lives of an entire people who had suffered hardship, misery, and injustice through generations of slavery.
Moses’ mother did not hope that her son would become a leader of a nation. She only hoped that he would live to see adulthood. She could have made the difficult choice to spare him a life of pain… or any life, at all. But she, in obedience to God, made the more difficult choice: She gave him life.
She modeled for her son obedience to a God that works in mysterious and magnificent ways. God honored her obedience. And years later, her son followed her example in obeying God’s difficult command.
Obedience to God says, “Let my people go.” Obedience to God says, “Let my people live.”
And obedience to God says, “Care for orphans and widows.”