Stem Cell Research – Boundaries, Blessings, and Peace
It is one thing to say embryonic stem cell research is morally unacceptable when we look at it from a purely academic point of view. The head knowledge is all there. We know the Bible passages that declare the sanctity of life. We can recite the passages that reveal God’s will concerning life. All lives, including the unborn, are precious to our Savior who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3).
It is an entirely different matter when a family has to face their own life issue. How do we react when a grandmother is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a dad is suffering from Parkinson’s disease? Will you still take the moral high ground when your child faces a wheelchair-bound future due to a spinal cord injury? It’s no longer enough to simply mouth Bible verses. It has now become an exercise in faith. How do we live our faith when our feelings are at odds with God’s Word? Love for God seems to conflict with love for a family member. Emotions are a powerful thing and the results can be disastrous if they become the primary guide in our decision making.
The embryonic stem cell promises that the scientific community dangles before us are an alluring temptation. Will we compromise our faith by putting our trust in earthbound promises of life that in reality lead to death (Proverbs 14:12)? The life-affirming alternative is to trust in God’s promises. God’s promises never fail and our trust is never misplaced because, dear Christian, God gives us everything we need to face whatever life throws at us (Romans 8:32). Our loving God gives boundaries, blessings, and peace.
Parents understand the concept of boundaries. Rules about junk food and nutrition, along with curfews and screen time restrictions are just some of the boundaries parents lovingly put in place for a child’s good. In a similar fashion, God has put boundaries in place to protect His children. As God’s children who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we are no longer under the law (Galatians 3:25). However, we still need the boundary of God’s law to keep our sinful natures in check. We also need the law’s guidance if we are to lead lives in line with God’s will (Psalm 119:32,35). For example, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) clearly shows that the taking of life, even of the unborn, is a sin. But God’s desire for us goes beyond that. His will is that we reflect His love by showing love to others and doing whatever we can to protect them from harm (Romans 13:9,10). Just as a shepherd sets up boundaries to protect his flock, so it is with our Good Shepherd.
God does not leave us to fend for ourselves when we or a loved one are confronted with a serious medical challenge. God provides skilled doctors and other medical personnel who diagnose and treat us. God gives researchers the answers that lead to relief and, in some cases, cures. God provides loving people who minister to the afflicted by providing physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort (James 1:17). And God assures us that He will never leave us (Psalm 46:1).
The peace He gives is not of this world (John 14:27). It knows no limitations. This peace allows us to implicitly trust the will of our Heavenly Father. Like the three men who were thrown into a white-hot furnace, we know God can deliver us from our trials and afflictions if it is His will (Daniel 3). And like those three men of old, even if God chooses not to physically deliver us, we still trust him 100 percent.
The Christian knows and believes that through Christ he has been spiritually delivered. Our desire is not to live for this world, but to live for Christ (Philippians 1:21). We look forward to the new Jerusalem where there will be no more suffering and sickness (Revelation 21:1-4). If God, in His wisdom, provides a medical breakthrough that prolongs life, the glory is His alone. God truly does give boundaries, blessings, and peace. In reality, they are all blessings and they are all we need.
Perhaps your family has discussed the issue of stem cell research. More likely it will be discussed if and when your family is confronted with a disease, injury, or illness whose cure has eluded the medical profession. As you and your family grapple with powerful emotions and struggle to decipher the confusing information regarding stem cells, it is paramount that you seek God’s will in His Word. Family discussions should always be centered on the Cross of Christ, even as you consider treatment options. In this life, families will have to weather many storms. What you cling to during a storm is important. The only real deliverance will come from clinging to Jesus. “He who relies on Christ through faith, is carried on the shoulders of Christ.”
May 4, 2018