The year would have been 1983. My wife was pregnant for the third time. Both of her earlier
pregnancies had been boys. She was hoping for a girl.
When she went to the bathroom, she screamed. Even though I was outside playing with the
boys, I heard her and rushed inside.
“I’m bleeding,” she said. So, we rushed to the hospital. Friends took care of the boys.
After examination at the hospital the news was not good. Trena had begun to bleed because
the baby was detaching itself from the wall of the uterus. The doctor said we had a decision
to make. If she was able to carry the baby to term, its precarious position would mean that
the wall of the uterus would probably rip off when the baby was born, and Trena would bleed
to death. If we aborted the baby, she would be safe.
For many people the abortion debate, especially when the health of the mother comes into
consideration, is nothing more than a debate of words. At that moment, to both Trena and I,
the debate became real. It was not a discussion of what could be, or might be. It was not a
discussion of what is.
Do we take the life of the baby to save Trena’s life?
What about our two boys who would possibly be without their mother?
For me, is an unborn, unidentified, unnamed infant that has not yet been completely formed or
born worth the life of my wife? She is the woman that I had decided to love and to live with for
the rest of my life. At the time, I was still in my mid-twenties. Could I, did I, want to face the
possibility of raising my sons alone?
For my wife, it was her life that was in the balance. She knew of the life that was within her.
To her it was not an abstract concept, it was her baby which had been conceived in love.
Could or would she accept the possibility that lay ahead, that her sons would grow up without
her? At the ages of one and three, it is probable that neither of them would remember her in
any way. Could or would she be able to give up life with the man she had decided to love and
to live with for the rest of her life?
Is my wife’s life worth more than the infant’s which was within her, at least for now?
All of these thoughts ran through our minds in a second that seemed like an hour.
Yet, it is something that we had discussed even before we were married. The scenario was
not near so personal, but the concept or the principle was one which we had together agreed
We had discussed whether the life of the mother was more important than the life of the child.
We had discussed whether you can take one life in order to save the other.
I realize to some, the idea that you would kill the fetus, to them is a prejudicial term. To me, to
us, it was not. When you take a life you kill that life, whether it is a dog, or a human. What is a
tragedy of modern society is that more concern at times is shown for the life of a dog, than
for the life of a human (whether it is unborn, or full-grown).
To my wife and I, life is sacred. It is God-given. That is not just a cliché, it is our deeply held
Marriage, to us, is a sacred vow made before men and the Creator in heaven. It means that
we have made a commitment to each other which includes being willing to give our lives for
the other. As a husband, I must be willing to sacrifice my life for my wife.
Parenthood is a similar God-given responsibility. As a Father, I must be willing to give my life
for my children. As a mother, my wife must be willing to give her life for her children. It is that
mother’s love which causes a woman to charge a grizzly bear with a broomstick in order to
save her child.
Believing this with all of our hearts made making the decision easy. It did not make this an
easy decision. It was a decision that was mutual.
The next day, after a night that seemed to never end, my wife miscarried, and lost the child.
To us, this was the death of a child. To all those to whom I have spoken who have
experienced a miscarriage, regardless of what side of the abortion debate they were on, felt
the same way.
My cousin lost a baby when it was only a few days old. My great-uncle and great-aunt lost
their only children within a month to disease, a boy and a girl.
Each and every one of us has a story of tragedy that we have either experienced ourselves,
or that someone we know, possibly someone close, has experienced.
In such cases, what can you say? What do you say? Perhaps what a friend of mine, who lost
his father while we were in high school, said it best when another friend and I visited the
funeral home. I expressed my sympathies, saying, “I don’t know what to say.”
He responded, “You don’t have to say anything. Your being here says it all.”
There are times when words fail us in the expression of sorrow and sympathy. There are
times when all of the wisdom that we can generate fails us. Those are the times that “being
there says it all.”
All of the platitudes and words of cheerfulness can seem empty. Sometimes there does not
seem to be any words of comfort. We feel and realize that “these are the times that try men’s
souls,” not the circumstances of politics, but the realities of life and death that we face from
day to day.
It is in these times that faith in our God and in His Son make all the difference in our life and in
our attitude. There are times, there are circumstances, which we do not and, indeed, cannot
understand. But, it provides us with comfort and reassurance to know that God does
understand, and that Jesus has endured life here on earth with all of its difficulties and
sorrows, so He knows. God is always there.
When Job, a man whom God called perfect, lost everything that he had, including all of his
… Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and
worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return
thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In
all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. [JOB 1:20-22 KJV]
When Job lost his health, his wife told him to curse God and die,
But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we
receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with
his lips. [JOB 2:10 KJV]
In other words, Job said we cannot blame God for everything.
To those of you who are suffering, we cannot and do not know the words to express our
sympathy or to be able to explain all that happens. However, know that “we are here,” and
more importantly God and Jesus are here.
I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
Because he hath inclined his ear unto me,
therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
The sorrows of death compassed me,
and the pains of hell gat hold upon me:
I found trouble and sorrow.
Then called I upon the name of the LORD;
O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
yea, our God is merciful.
The LORD preserveth the simple:
I was brought low, and he helped me.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul;
for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee
For thou hast delivered my soul from death,
mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid:
thou hast loosed my bonds.
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and will call upon the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the LORD'S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.
Praise ye the LORD.
[PSALMS 116:1-19 KJV]