A professor in a world-acclaimed medical school once posed this medical situation — and an ethical problem — to his students: “Here’s the family history: The father has syphilis. The mother has TB. They already have four children. Their first was blind. A second had died. The third was deaf. And their fourth had TB. Now the mother is pregnant again; The parents come to you for advice. They are willing to have an abortion if you decide they should. What do you say?” The students gave various individual opinions, and then the professor asked them to break into small groups for “consultation.” All the groups came back to report that they would recommend abortion. “Congratulations,” the professor said, “You just took the life of Beethoven!”
This week on the podcast and the blog we will celebrate God’s precious gift of life.
Join me as we take this week to remember the most important thing. We should be celebrating 一 life itself! This week encourages us to embrace the simple fact of being alive is a gift from God.
Maybe you feel unsure about your importance in the world or wonder if you matter to God. It is possible you have felt uncertain about your usefulness or whether God found you acceptable. It is my prayer that this week, these podcast and blog posts will give you a greater sense of your divine purpose.
You were On God’s Radar from the Beginning. Paul says, “…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Ephesians 1:4
When I was a young kid, I was not an athletic stud. When the kids in my neighborhood would get a game together, whether basketball or football, the players would line up, and the captains would choose their teams individually. As the draft took place, I would be one of the last ones standing there. After all, the other players had been chosen, and the pickings got thinner, the captain who was about to get stuck with me would first look up and down the block, hoping against hope that another potential teammate was approaching, he had to settle for choosing me. It didn’t matter who, someone’s younger brother or sister, even someone’s aging grandmother. When it was obvious, they could find no other help, he would point at me and say, “OK, I’ll take Keith.” Somehow, that didn’t make me feel chosen. I was just the lesser of two evils. I felt that if it hadn’t been my ball we were using, I had the sneaking suspicions I wouldn’t have gotten to play at all.
I think many of us can relate to this feeling in some arena of our lives. It may be in the realm of relationships and dating where it seems we are always the third wheel. Or in our profession, when new people keep jumping over us for promotions. We can relate to the feeling of being the second fiddle in a rock and roll band. We are the last ones chosen and the least talented in at least some areas—academically, athletically, or musically. Fear not, there is a field where we never need to feel that way: our relationship with God. All of us have wondered “If they had it to do all over again, would they choose me? Would they hire me? Would she marry me?” Maybe some of you have even thought, “If God had it done over, would He choose me again?” Some of you believe you are a disappointment to God and that He would have been better off if He had not created and redeemed you. The message from Ephesians 1 is the exact opposite of that notion. The message of Ephesians is that God invited and welcomed you into the body of Christ not because He had to, but because it was God’s heart’s desire to do so. You are part of His plan. From the beginning, He has wanted you to be a member of his family.
(v. 5) “…he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,”
You are part of His plan. From the beginning, it was His idea that you would become good. Notice what Paul says,
(v. 4) “Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us to be holy and without fault in his eyes…”
Whether you think it’s possible for you to become “holy and without the blame,” the Bible clarifies God thinks it is possible. Whether you believe in your potential, God believes in your potential.
You are part of His plan. From the beginning, God has known that you would arrive at this moment. (v. 11-12) “...for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago.”
Long before Genesis 1:1, God knew you would be where you are today in your job, in your relationships, and in all areas of your life. He knew you would be here at this moment. For some, it’s been a rough ride. There have been mistakes and disappointments along the way, and you’ve fallen short of God’s glory more times than you want to admit. Many of you have many regrets, and you’ve wanted to give up many times. But God’s love for you has never changed. From the beginning, he has known that your life would bring you to this place today. Even though your past may be littered with failure upon failure, it doesn’t change the fact that God loves you; He chose you, and He believes in you. You have been on His mind from the very beginning.
On Monday’s podcast, my guest and I debate reproductive justice. Here is how Osub Ahmed (2017), defines the movement “Reproductive rights are centered around the legal right to access reproductive health care services like abortion and birth control. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade represented a watershed moment that cemented a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion or not. But we are now facing a time when women’s reproductive rights are under coordinated, unrelenting, and mainstream attacks, and we need to consider new and more nuanced ways of tackling these threats.”
Since the Supreme Court sent the abortion debate back to the states it has become a kitchen-table issue. On Monday, I had a great conversation with Cathy Perez. We talked about reproductive justice. We come at this from different sides but it was a great open and honest discussion. Cathy is a Certified Healthy Eating and Weight Loss Coach, Certified Yoga Instructor (200YTT), and the 159th Worldwide Certified Konmari Organizing, Consultant. She helps women create healthy relationships with anxiety/stress. I think you will find the conversation enlightening.
Then on Thursday, I have a podcast with Richard Villasana. Richard and I talk about what can we do to help children who are displayed and lost in a broken foster care system. He is the founder of Forever Homes for Foster Kids a leading international authority on immigration issues and foster families.
CNN International, Univision, ABC, AP News, Costco Connections, the San Diego Business Journal, Foster Focus Magazine, and EFE, the world’s largest Spanish-language media company, have featured Richard. He is a proud Navy veteran, national columnist, and international speaker who has also translated for the United Nations.
This is just the beginning. There may be even more surprise content throughout the week. Thanks for taking this journey of bridge-building with me.