As I write this I’m sitting about 200 yards away from more than 200 junior- and senior-high aged young people at a retreat in northern Minnesota. Next to me is a book, Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights, that just makes me want to weep in frustration. It is full of illogical conclusions from some very intelligent people. And, for the most part, the people writing for this book are arguing against the destruction through abortion of babies with disabilities – I should be encouraged!
But there is no real, lasting defense of babies in this book. There are lessons I’m learning, but I’m not sure how to articulate them just yet.
So, I’m thinking about those 200 young people, who are being lead by some of the most disciplined, most Bible-saturated, most delighting-in-God men and women Bethlehem has to offer. Their schedule is full of Bible (and recreation – those young bodies do need to move around!). Yet, that won’t be enough if God doesn’t do what only he can do, calling them from death to his marvelous life and light.
So, I find myself praying this morning, please, father, please, save them all, call them all, fill them all with the wonder of who you are and a desire to know your word. Please give their leaders words of praise and life and hope.
And then, Lord, help us to teach them to think so that they will respect but not be blinded by academic credentials or peer-reviewed journals that do not have one hint of the eternal reality to come or the present, daily help you provide. Help us to teach them to search for truth, even when that truth is hard, like the reality of living with disability – but in the knowledge that you will never leave us, you will never forsake us, you will always supply what we need, that not one of your children can be snatched from your hand. That it is better to live ‘as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing’ with a hope in future grace than it is to kill our babies.
Father, please let us be examples of trusting in you. Let these young people be surrounded by adults who love them and love you.
Lord, help us prepare them for a world that will be perplexed, confused and hostile to a young couple who are not afraid of prenatal tests, but fear you and know they are only safe when close to you. A world that will wonder at, question and confront why they choose not to destroy their unborn child with Down syndrome or spina bifida, why their grandparents and church don’t counsel them to get rid of that baby, why they choose a life they know will be complicated and full of hardship.
Father, let these young people at this camp taste a little bit of real, God-centered joy this weekend. Please, Lord, open the eyes of their hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.