Psalm 116: Precious in the Sight of the Lord

 January 12, 2016

pregnancy, Tatiana VdbIt puzzles me how, on the one hand, we will spend thousands of dollars in neo-natal care to preserve the life of tiny infants born prematurely, some as small as one pound, and at the same time abort fetuses that are the identical size. It doesn’t make sense to me. Is one a baby and the other just a mass of cells without life? Is it that one was wanted so desperately that the medical staff will go to what some may consider extreme measures to preserve its life, while the other wasn’t wanted?

What determines why one is considered a human life while the other isn’t?

I ponder these questions every year as another anniversary of Roe versus Wade, the landmark decision on abortion, approaches. It is not my intent to attack women who feel they have no other alternative, but to point out the inconsistencies in regards to how human life is valued.

Psalm 116 reminds us of the preciousness of life. Another hymn of the Hallel, this one is written by someone who has come close to dying and thus, is very aware of the value of life. “The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me, I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I beseech you, save my life!’” (3-4)

The writer praises God for his righteousness and for hearing his plea: “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.” (1-2); “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; the Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.” (5-6)

He goes to the Temple to pay his vows and offers God his prayers of thanksgiving. “What shall I render to the Lord for his bounty to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.” (12-14) “I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!” (17-19)

Having skirted the gates of death, he recognizes how precious his life is in God’s eyes: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (15)

So often it is only when we lose something, or almost lose it, that we recognize its value. Sadly, it may be only after the death of a loved one that we realize how important they were to us. The writer’s near death experience helped him to realize how precious life is. He is profuse in his praise and thanks to God for that which we often take for granted or value lightly.

Ask the woman who has lost a child through a miscarriage or still birth if it was just a mass of cells, not a living being. Ask the woman who longs for children but is unable to have them, their value. They would gladly take the aborted baby as their own for they know the value of it.

Is the value of life determined by the convenience or inconvenience of the circumstances?

Life is precious in all its forms, from the very young to the very old. It is precious even when it comes at an inconvenient time or stays past the time of convenience. What will it take for us to recognize that?

In the first book of my Dancing Through Life Series, Dancing on a High Wire, Joy, a ballet instructor, is pregnant with her third child when it is discovered that she has breast cancer. She is confronted with the question of aborting this child in order to pursue aggressive treatment of her cancer. On January 22, the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, I will be lowering the price for the electronic version of this book. (wish I could give it away but apparently I have used up my give away days already 🙁 ) I hope Joy’s struggles will inspire others.

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