- Valorie Quesenberry
Do you value life? do you?
I always thought I did. I have Christian parents who taught me that God created all things. I gave birth to four children and loved nurturing them as infants and beyond. I worked as a volunteer counselor at Sav-A-Life- East in Birmingham. Alabama where we tried to uphold the gift of life and offer the adoption option to women in crisis pregnancies. I was gung-ho in the fight against abortion and euthanasia. I voted for pro-life candidates and prayed that America would turn back to valuing life from conception to natural death.
Then, in 2013, I started working with developmentally delayed students. And my pro-life convictions were challenged.
For the severely developmentally delayed, the phrase "quality of life" is a cruel standard. They have no quality of life from a purely earthly standpoint. Many of them cannot speak. Many of them wear diapers. Some of them have uncontrolled drooling. Some are uncooperative or have untidy habits and some even have violent behavioral outbursts. And then there are a few who are confined to wheelchairs and require round-the-clock nursing. The ones who can interact often have difficulty maintaining focus and completing their thoughts. These human beings are in a condition in which they are unable to engage independently with their world. They need constant care. These are the kinds of babies that Planned Parenthood and its cohorts would try to prevent from coming into the world. These are the lives that are "expendable" - the ones with Down's Syndrome and genetic abnormalities and developmental issues that can be seen in the womb. These are the children who may never play patty-cake or speak their first word or run to give mom a hug. To many, these are just inconvenient lives.
But these are people in whom burns the divine spark of life. These children are precious in His sight. Their twisted bodies and fragile minds remind us that sin came into the world to destroy God' s beautiful creation of life, but their guileless smiles and childlike perspective nudge us toward simple faith in the One who will one day "make all things new." Though they bear witness to the principle of decay and death at work in our world, they also remind us that healing awaits in that perfect land "that is fairer than day." The unpleasant aspects of their daily care give us a chance to serve, to be the hands and feet of Christ in a very practical way. Just like the Good Samaritan who would not pass by someone in need, we can always find a way to extend the love of God to those who are hurting and helpless.
Is it easy? No. Fun? Not usually. Comfortable? Uh-huh. But it's a real-life way to prove that you are pro-life. For me, it is easy to gaze softly at the picture of an unborn baby and declare myself a lover of human life. It's far more difficult to maintain that conviction when life is wrapped in a human bundle that isn't quite so fresh and cuddly. But we are not asked to judge the packaging. We are only called to respect the gift that resides inside, the very real, valuable person whom the Creator has known from before his or her conception.
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
Ecclesiastes 11:5, NKJV
No, it was never God's design for human bodies and brains to be impaired. But somewhere in the mix of His sovereignty overseeing the fractured DNA of our human genetics and the divine purpose He has for every living soul, there is a plan for these who are near to His heart. They are not accidents to Him. They are valued and wanted and purposed for glory someday.
I am certain that, this week, you will encounter someone whose quality of life is in question by society - whether unborn, developmentally delayed, old and feeble or maybe standing on a street corner holding a sign, at the mercy of poverty and addiction. I ask you to join me in purposely remembering that God is the Giver of all life. Let's ask our Father to fill our hearts with love that sees beyond the unpleasant circumstances to the person contained inside. Then, if possible, let's be channels of life-valuing grace. Let's love, pray and serve. For when we respect the gift, we are honoring the Giver.
In Your light we see light.
Psalm. 36:9, NKJV
Today, January 17, is Sanctity of Human Life Day,
This observance began under the presidency of Ronald Reagan in the year 1984
and the official proclamation designates the third Sunday in January as the
national day to honor the God-given right to human life.