January is Sanctity of Life month. Though I am decisively "pro-life" and passionately believe that all life is sacred from conception to natural death, I have to be honest and tell you that usually January comes and goes each year without me giving a lot of thought to the "sanctity of life." But as we move into the halfway point of January 2012, I have found the "sanctity of life" as a regular thought in my mind. Here is why.
A month ago a wonderful young couple in our church gave birth prematurely to a baby boy that they named Elijah. They knew before Elijah's emergency c-section that he had a problem that was going to require immediate surgery. What they did not know is the many other challenges that baby Elijah was going to be born with. Hours after his birth in Traverse City, he was transported 3 hours south to Grand Rapids where he had surgery.
The month that followed was filled with obstacles and set-backs. Baby Elijah's parents spent that month going back and forth from northern Michigan where their 4 daughters were to Grand Rapids where their sweet newborn Elijah was fighting for his life. Last Sunday baby Elijah passed away in his parents arms. This coming Saturday I will preach his funeral.
As I found myself praying for baby Elijah daily over the past month and regularly talking with his wonderful parents whom I respect so deeply and am so proud of as to how they have clung to their faith in a very difficult time, I have been vividly reminded of the "sanctity of life." Baby Elijah's life was filled with multiple challenges but that in no way made his life less valuable. Baby Elijah only lived for about a month, but that in no way made his life less important.
God caused Baby Elijah's conception. God had a plan and a purpose for Baby Elijah. And I am convinced that God fulfilled that plan and that purpose. I don't think we can know for sure at this point the impact that this one month of life had for eternity but I believe that when his parents get to heaven and God rolls back the eternal curtain and they see how God used Baby Elijah and how their sweet son fulfilled God's purpose, they will be amazed and they will fall on their knees in awe and worship of God.
Yesterday I was called to the hospital for another couple in our church who just last Sunday told me with excitement that she was pregnant. In the end it was an ectopic pregnancy (often called a tubal pregnancy) that required immediate emergency surgery. This time the parents did not get to see their baby or hold that baby in their arms. But as a believer that life begins at conception, I was again reminded of the "sanctity of life."
On the heels of all that, we received a call from parents in our church yesterday who would like to dedicate their child to the Lord this month. My first inclination was to say, "Sorry, those services are already planned but we can put you down for our next scheduled baby dedication which will be Mother's Day." But after crying with and praying with the parents of Baby Elijah and the parents of this ectopic pregnancy recently, "sanctity of life" Sunday, January 22, sounds like the perfect time to dedicate life to the Lord!