Sunday, July 03, 2005

This Post Is Not About Abortion... don't come at me with pro-life or pro-choice arguments. I'm just going to ignore you.

Here's the deal - Bernhard & Shirley Ollech are two of the coolest people on the planet... and one of the amazing miracles of my tenure here at NewLife is how Shirley's pregnancy with their son, Robert, put her lupus into remission.

They found out they were pregnant again early this year - and much like the pregnancy with Robert, it's been difficult. About a month ago, they found out that there were some developmental problems for their little girl - a cleft palate & low weight gain.

But that was nothing compared to the news that their baby girl had some kind of genetic problem that rendered her incapable of life outside the womb. Bernhard came by the house to talk - and as I prayed with him, I could barely hold it together. And if it feels like a sledgehammer to my chest, that's just a taste of what he & Shirley are feeling.

Yesterday, the diagnosis was confirmed - it is a genetic disorder with such severity that the baby will be unable to survive outside the womb for more than a few minutes or hours. On top of that, because of health complications for Shirley (placenta previa, her previous health issues, signs of other problems developing), Shirley is at high risk as well.

Which sent me searching for good spiritual counsel to help them make a decision on what to do next. Shirley is profoundly pro-life (as am I) and wanted to know how best to proceed while staying true to Scripture.

And that search brings me to the point of my post. We Christians (or at least people who claim a relationship with Jesus Christ) can be so incredibly un-gracious in our dealings with difficult situations. I lost count of how many websites I discovered that focused on the political battles over the "mother's health" exceptions in right to life laws... while ignoring that real people live through these kinds of decisions.

No wonder the "secular" world looks at us like we have a third eye in the middle of our foreheads. Sigh.

And it's not that I misunderstand the arguments - like I said earlier, I'm profoundly pro-life. But I'm also profoundly trying to follow the footsteps of Jesus and walking in grace with people in pain is part of that.

Two pleas:
  • Pray for Bernhard, Shirley, Robert & their little girl
  • If you want to argue "culture of life" issues, remember that this is not an abstract discussion. There are real people involved.
All right - I'll climb down off my soapbox now.


Anonymous said...

I will be praying. What a difficult situation for everyone involved. I will be praying for you Mark that God will give you strength to be supportive to them. I will also pray that the people around them will support them in their decision. Either way they choose they face a terrible loss.

Anonymous said...

I can only begin to imagine the enourmous trial this is for this family and for your church. Thanks for sharing. You really opened my eyes.

May God's Grace Prevail.