It makes me sick to hear of women having abortions because their unborn babies are deformed or handicapped in some way. If those women are even capable of love, giving the babies up for adoption would be the more humane thing to do.
There are people in the world who have enough love to care for handicapped children. Much better for the children than growing up with parents who continually gripe because their handicapped children are “inconvenient” to care for.
But what of babies who appear to be perfectly healthy and normal at birth, only to show signs of being handicapped months or years down the road? Do the parents cease to love them because of that? I would hope not, although I’m sure it happens in some instances.
When I was writing The Devil and Pastor Gus, B.L.ZeBubb (the Devil) was complaining about handicapped children. Gus responded with this story about a couple from his church, a true story about a couple I used to be close friends with:
“Handicapped children aren’t an embarrassment. A sweet couple from church lost a severely disabled daughter some years back. Requiring round-the-clock attention, she was exceedingly difficult to care for, and her folks lived in a permanent state of physical and emotional fatigue. Spiritual burnout plagued them at times, too.”
Gus pretended not to notice B.L.ZeBubb smiling gleefully at his mention of spiritual burnout.
“But were they relieved when she died? No way. They couldn’t have grieved more over the death of a healthy daughter, and they still remember her fondly these many years later.”
That couple’s self-sacrificing love for their daughter still inspires me. And it always will.
Self-sacrifice? Isn’t that what love sometimes involves? How can you have love without at least a willingness to sacrifice?
Probably the best definition of love I’ve ever heard is “wanting what’s best for the other person–and being willing to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to bring that about.” My friends’ sacrifices couldn’t change their daughter’s handicap. But they didn’t let her handicaps change them. They gave their all for her.
Several Sunday nights ago, a young lady from my church who was barely out of her teens died from health problems that could not be cured. I barely knew her, and I don’t know her parents at all. But one thing I’m sure of. They know the meaning of sacrificial love.
Ellen Masters, I’m thankful to have known you ever so slightly and to have had the privilege of praying for you for years. I’m sure your parents did everything in their power to keep you alive and return you to normal health. But, in this case, sacrificial love meant having to let go when nothing else would help. We believe you’re in God’s presence right now, whole for the first time in years. I look forward to getting to know you better when my time comes.
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