Friday, 10 August 2012

Freedom to Choose - A Christian Perspective

Last week I read a book called, 'The Shaming of the Strong' by Sarah Williams.  It is an inspiring read.  It is about parents that chose life for their special child that was unlikely to survive birth.  It was an extremely gripping book, especially as I have walked that road myself....  I cried many tears reading it through.  

There was one particular paragraph that I thought was especially inspiring and I wanted to share it here.

The paragraph comes after a colleague of Sarah's questions her decision to keep her baby and not choose abortion (or termination as some would rather call it).  The colleague probed at how awful it would be if the child were to live (against the odds) as the child would have been severely disabled. 

This is what the mother and author, Sarah, wrote in her journal after the confrontation:

"Rather than being a liberty of autonomy, freedom from obligation or the power to mobilise resources for our own ends, biblical liberty is first and foremost freedom from the consequences of sin, the freedom to enjoy the space to choose to serve others and most of all to choose to serve the living God.  Biblical liberty is the Spirit empowered ability to choose to fulfil our obligations, to lay aside comfort for the sake of another, and to use all our resources to honour and fulfil our created function."

'Quote taken from The Shaming of the Strong by Sarah Williams.'
(underlining is my addition)

I love the way this was written!  As a Christian I posses the 'Spirit empowered ability' to choose the things that Christ calls me to.  When I'm struggling to lay aside comfort, to fulfil my obligations, to honour and fulfil my created function, I just need to remember that I was not called to do it on my own. When Jesus returned to heaven after His resurrection, He did not leave us to fend on our own, He left us the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to live the life that God has called us to.  When I am struggling with laying my life down to love, honour and serve my husband, to mother the children I have been given, to bring a new life into the world, ....  when I am struggling to serve in my community, to give time I don't think I have, to use gifts I have been given when I'd rather rest - I just need to remember that I am empowered by the Holy Spirit...  I just need to remember to pray and ask for the help that I have been offered.

For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

'biblical liberty is first and foremost freedom from the consequences of sin' - The least I can do to thank the God who saved me is choose to live my life serving and honouring Him, which is in fact my created function; what I was created for.  There is no greater satisfaction, no greater delight, no greater meaning to life, than fulfilling the purpose for which you were created.

Thinking back to the book and the situation that prompted such thoughts - Sarah choose life for her unborn child because it was the life that God had given her to take care of for as long as God determined.  It wasn't an easy choice for her physically as the pregnancy gave her many physical challenges, but she choose to 'lay aside comfort' for the life of another.  As is always the case when we do things the way God intended, Sarah was greatly blessed by choosing life for her baby.  

Society is scared by new life that is 'unique' in some way or 'different', but aren't we all unique?  Aren't we all different?  Aren't we all created with our own God given purpose?  Who are we to decide who should and shouldn't be born based on what society deems as 'normal' and/or acceptable.  Is it impossible to believe that God would create a soul who's entire earthly existence would be in the safety of his or her's mothers womb?  God decides our paths and some are very long, some very, very short, but each soul has as much purpose as any other.  The meaning of ones life is not determined by how long you live - you ask a mother who's child has died, most will tell you that their child's life had more meaning and achieved far more than most people who live to 90 yrs old.

Here is a quote that Sarah quoted in her book when she touched on the above subject:

In reality there is no such thing as a non-handicapped life.  But ideas of health set up by society and the capable, condemn a certain group of people to be called handicapped.  Our society arbitrarily defines health as the capacity for work and a capacity for enjoyment, but true health is something quite different.  True health is the strength to live, the strength to suffer, the strength to die.  Health is not a condition of my body, it is the power of my soul to cope with the varying conditions of the body.  ~ Jurgen Moltmann

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