What makes us human?
When does life begin?
At birth or at fertilization?
These are areas of study within ethics. When I was at the seminary I could argue on these issues with confidence. However one day they become a real trial in my life.
“Moon will turn red like blood (or blood moon)” is one of the signs of end days (Acts 2:20). On July 27, 2018, the longest total lunar eclipse of the century (blood moon) was recorded. That day was also the “doomsday” of my wife and me. We panicked when the gynaecologist informed us that the 2 ½ months old foetus in my wife’s womb had developed “fetal edema”. The cause of foetal edema was unknown but survival rate for the baby was low. Foetal death was the likely consequence and even if the baby survived till delivery there was a high chance that the baby would be born handicapped or might not even live for a long time.
I didn’t know what to do next. By law my wife could abort legally. That could free us from these adversities and it was also the advice of almost everyone. We hesitated because to us the two-and-a-half-month-old foetus is already one with a soul. As Psalm 139:16 says: “Your eyes saw my body even before it was formed You planned how many days I would live. You wrote down the number of them in your book.” Meaning before birth and even before formation of limbs, God has already recorded the person in the book.
Therefore we could not resort to abortion at will. Abortion could be considered murder when comparing to the scenario that a terminally ill patient should be given treatment until his natural end and not euthanasia. If the fertilized embryo is not considered a human being then indirectly we are saying that abortion at the beginning of pregnancy is allowed. It is like removing certain lump in the body and since it has no life it is not murder nor a sin.
Right or wrong
We struggled. We were not arguing when and how the foetus is considered a life. We were struggling whether to follow the Biblical teaching and let everything takes its natural course.
You may be scornful at my struggle. I might have responded the same way in the past. I just realized that my struggle was not about right or wrong.
Thank God that many wise pastors advised me, many brothers and sisters with similar experiences also helped us. Finally we chose to obey God.
Then there was a long trying wait. I could not tell you how I felt seeing my wife suffer during her pregnancy. We struggled with our thoughts the foetus might die. We joked by saying that we shed all the tears in our life during that time. I prayed everyday asking God: “why”, “why”, and still “why”.
God is a compassionate God. God spoke to us through Isaiah chapter 30 which depicted perfectly our situation. The Israelites’ sufferings and struggles were rather similar to ours. Isaiah 30:15 points out that in repentance and rest one will be saved; our strength come by staying calm and trusting. If one chooses to free himself in his own way, then God’s punishment will come. On the other hand if he waits on God, he will have rest and peace. This passage gave us comfort and strength and we continued to wait for God’s timing.
Become a blessing to others
September 24, 2018 was the Mid-Autumn Festival, and also a time for family reunion. But that day was the day we could no longer have reunion in this world. The doctor scanned and found that the foetus had no heartbeat. At 12:40am the next morning, the foetus, not even the size of my fist, was surgically taken out. The hands and feet of the lifeless body drooped. He was buried the same day and Rev Ting Diu Kiong conducted the burial service.
Reflecting on what we went through, we are grateful for Jesus’ salvation and one day we will meet our son in heaven. We are also grateful for the fact that we obeyed God and waited for His timing. We have no regrets and we are also thankful that our ordeal could be a blessing to others.
Our God is a faithful, loving, and never failing God. All praise and glory be unto Him!
Written by Rev James Lau
Translated by KT Chew