How About the Quality of Life?

Pregnant woman holds hands on belly. Close-up

Richard D. Balge


Didn’t anyone tell Elizabeth that it was dangerous for a woman of her age to have a child? Didn’t anyone remind her that a child born to her after the normal child-bearing years was a poor statistical risk? Didn’t it occur to her that a little newcomer might spoil the quality of life which she and Zachariah could enjoy in their golden years? We are not told that anyone did and we are sure that it would not have changed anything for this woman who knew and believed what God’s messenger had said about her child.

Didn’t anyone tell Mary that a child conceived out of wedlock would have a rough life in Nazareth? Didn’t anyone remind her that she was too young to be tied down by a little one, that she had her whole life ahead of her? We are not told that it ever occurred to her. We are told that she received the angel’s message with reverent joy.

Mary, with child by the Holy Spirit, went to visit her kinswoman. What a remarkable visit they had! As we read about it in Luke 1, we realize that there were more than two persons there. There were not just two women who were present. “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41). The Holy Spirit was there, too.

And there were two more persons there. The child in Mary’s womb was the Lord and the Child in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy in the presence of his Lord: “In a loud voice (Elizabeth) exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:42-44).

There is nothing here about “tissue,” “contents of the uterus,” “potential human beings;” not even “fetuses.” Here we have words like “baby,” “Lord,” and “child.”

What was the quality of those lives that day? One unborn child was the Lord and the other exulted in His presence. One mother was filled with the Holy Spirit and acknowledged that the other was blessed among women.

Elizabeth marveled at the quality of her life: “Why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

The man who recorded these words by inspiration of the Holy Spirit was a physician. Luke knew about the “quickening” of babies and he knew something about the intellectual development of infants. He is reporting here that at this moment there was more than the natural movement of an unborn child. He is saying that the Spirit of God worked a joyful recognition and joyous response in one whose intellect was as yet quite undeveloped.

This says something about the gracious working of the Holy Spirit in infants. It says something about the humanness of the unborn.

It also reminds us that the quality of life and sanctity of life cannot be separated. What if either of those mothers had violated the sanctity of life by deciding to terminate her pregnancy that is, by killing her unborn child? Unthinkable! No preacher of repentance, no Redeemer. No Advent and no Christmas. How could they have murdered their children, knowing what they knew? Well, they didn’t commit murder by abortion. How could we have a part in abortion, knowing what they knew and knowing what we know?

We know the quality of John’s life, his preaching, his pointing to the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world. Especially, we know the quality of Jesus’ life. He lived it for us and died for us. He rose and He lives for us. We have life from Him and we live in Him. That is quality living because it is the beginning of eternal life.

Abortion? No baptism, no nurturing one of Christ’s little ones, no watching a child grow up in Christ? No rejoicing together in the grace of God as heirs of eternal life? We know what the quality of our lives is because of Mary’s Child. We know what the quality of life can be for those whom we bring to Him for His blessing. We know what God’s Word teaches about the source of life. We know that God’s commandment protects life. Could we ever decide that “it would be better for everyone” that any child is not born? May it never be.

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