Monday, January 14, 2013

In WHOSE Image?

Despite my deep-seated personal convictions, I tend to shy away from topics that are apt to generate heated opinions or debate.  It isn't that I'm afraid or unable to defend my viewpoint, but I hate conflict of any kind, so it's easier (perhaps even selfish?) to simply avoid confrontation.

Today's post, however, will break that mold.  I've prayed about sharing this for some time, and I feel that this is something that should be brought to light.  I have no doubt whatsoever that I will step on toes, offend many, and likely regret some of the things I will say.

(For civility's sake, if you feel the need to ask about my convictions or would like to share an alternate view, I would ask that you do so privately with me through email rather than leaving a public comment.  Thanks so much.)

I bet I've really piqued some interests with an opening like that, huh?  ;)

So, what topic could I possibly feel warranted coming out of my shell?  Allow me to explain.

As thrilled as Jon and I were when we found out that our fourth Spark Plug was on his way, we were hard-pressed about what to do for health insurance.  Believing that our family was complete after Lauren's arrival, I had stopped carrying maternity coverage some three years earlier.  Never ones to sit back and hope everything works out in the end without any work on our parts, we promptly sat down and listed out nine coverage possibilities and quickly proceeded to follow through on them to see which would best fit our current needs.

One by one, we watched our little health insurance dominoes fall until only one remained standing:  government coverage, here in California known as Medi-Cal.  (It took over 4 months to get approved, but that's a story for another day.)

I chaffed.

To put it bluntly, I felt embarrassed.  We've lived in government-run housing before, but once we'd moved out of that situation, I'd hoped to never return.  I'd much prefer to leave government care for someone else, and it bothers me to no end that other taxpayers must pick up the tab for our baby's delivery.  Talk about humbling. 

The Lord reminded me, however, that He can choose to provide for us in whatever means He wills, even if it means that He chooses to use Medi-Cal to do so.  And in our situation, we feel that He is, at this time, leading us down this path. 

I stopped trying to kick against the goads and made an appointment with a Medi-Cal-approved obstetrician's office.

Things went from uncomfortable to downright awful.

The first time that I actually met with the Medi-Cal worker in the office (yet another story for another time), I received no fewer than three "invitations" to abort the baby.


"Are you aware that Medi-Cal would cover an abortion in the event that you want one?"

"Don't you want to get a rush order on your blood work so that there would still be time to abort him if it looks as though he might have some abnormality?"

"You really should get that blood work done today, if possible, so that you can have legal abortion by 24 weeks.  Remember, you're already fairly far along, so that doesn't leave you much time for scheduling."

I could not believe what I was hearing.  Apparently, our government has forgotten something.  Our nation has forgotten it as well.

In whose image were we created?

In whose likeness were each of of fashioned?

In whose similitude has each embryo, fetus, baby, human being (all of those words are synonymous) been delicately detailed?

It does not matter our gender.  It does not matter our lineage.  It does not matter our faith or our virtues.  It does not matter whether or not we were planned by human decisions.

We all, from Adam onward, from a seconds-old blastocyst to a hundred-and-twenty-year-old geriatric, are made in the image of God.

And yet, here I was, being offered government funds to kill that which God had so miraculously fashioned, created, and designed.

My friend A touched on this very point in her blog post here.  She pleads, "Remember whose Image you bear!"

We all bear it, whether or not we even believe in the redemption of the Cross.  We are all imprinted with the image of our Creator God, who formed each of us specifically, purposefully, amazingly, and deliberately.

When we choose to abort an infant, we are choosing to ruin a portion of God's image.

And our government is shelling out millions to mar the Image that we all bear.

It doesn't matter if the one aborted has a medical issue; whether or not doing so may save the mother's life; or even if you don't believe that abortion really is murder.  Something can be true even if no person in the world testifies of it.  How many people once believed the world to be flat or the earth to be the center of the universe?  We can believe those theories all we want, but it doesn't make them true.  We can believe that abortion is not murder, but that doesn't make it true, either.

In the highly-recommended parenting book, "10 Things I Want My Son to Know," author Steve Chapman tells the story of his leaving for college.  As he prepared to back his truck down the driveway and off to new adventures, his dad leaned in the window and admonished him, "Remember whose son you are."  His dad's intention was to remind Steve that Steve need not mar the family's reputation by poor behavior, much as we need not mar the Heavenly Father's image imprinted on us.

As if this weren't enough salt in a wound, the Medi-Cal representative then tossed out off-handedly, "Oh, but we won't cover circumcision.  You'll have to pay that out of pocket."

Please don't get me wrong.  I have no problem with the government choosing not to cover an elective medical procedure.  There is enough financial waste through government means that any cuts mean that many fewer taxes owed.

However, circumcision is a commandment in the Pentatuch, an order given of God to set His people - the Jews - apart from all other nations.

So, in a move rife with anti-Semitic undertones, the government WILL pay to kill my precious child wrought in the very Image of God in order to avoid incurring full delivery costs, but it will NOT pay for a health procedure because of its Jewish origin. 

I'll let that sink in for a few minutes.  It took me a while to absorb, too.

At this point, many of you are undoubtedly thinking, "Are you CERTAIN that this method of insurance is where the Lord led you?"

It's a reasonable question, but thankfully the answer will redeem this entire saga.

It's bothered me that the Lord would use such an ungodly situation to provide for our family.  How could anything good come from something like this?  Why would He WANT this for us?

The Lord can use anything to His glory, and He has done just this for us in this situation.

Every time I've gone in to the office, every time I've received one of these horrid offers, I've had the opportunity to share the Gospel.  I've explained my faith.  I've shown that Jon and I feel that all children, no matter their genetic coding, illness, or health, are blessings and not burdens.  It doesn't matter to us whether or not this child has Downs Syndrome, Trisomy 18, Spina Bifida, cleft palate, or holes in his heart.  We would never opt to take his life in order that we might maintain an easier lifestyle of our own.  I don't know how many other people feel this way, but our hope is that by living out what we say we believe and by sharing our faith with these medical personnel that some seed may be planted, some conscience pricked, and that ultimately another sheep may enter the Fold.

It's likely that we won't ever know if anyone will be touched by our example.  But since the Lord has given us the opportunity to share, we'll take it and let Him finish the story as He sees fit.

Let us not forget Whose Image and Inscription we bear.

A few notes: 

1)  As far as we are aware, this is a completely healthy baby boy.  We have no concerns regarding his health.

2)  We know many people who do not believe the way we do about abortion, and we also know many people who have either considered or gone through an abortion procedure.  This post is not in any way intended to judge others.  It is merely a reflection of the horror of the government system and is intended only as food for thought.