August 02, 2008

A Short and Worthy Life

Ephesians 2:1-10

“We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works …”
Ephesians 2:10


The Etterlings were shocked when their doctor said their unborn child had anencephaly (a serious brain disorder) and would not live more than a few hours after birth. When they said they intended to carry the child to term anyway, they were stunned by the doctor's response: “Why go through the pain of pregnancy and delivery to profit nothing?” How, they wondered, could a human life be reduced to economic terms of profit and loss? Their fragile child was precious to them because he was precious to God. The Etterlings' precious son David lived for 22 hours. They celebrated his life while they had him. Family and friends came, held him, took pictures. Their doctor grew a little through that experience. He saw the people in David Etterling's life who celebrated each moment as a gift of life. The Etterlings grew in compassion. They continue to help others in similar situations, in part through the book they wrote about their experience, Genuine Faith and the Test of Love. No human can answer the deepest question this story poses: why David was brought into this world to live such a short time. But he is God's workmanship, and his short life continues to work God's purposes. God can work his purposes through the tiniest and most fragile human beings. Surely he can work through us too.

Giver of life, help us to see life for the true and precious gift you have made it. Give us the strength, wisdom, and courage to share your message of life with others. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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