Jon Walker is a former editor of HomeLife magazine. In the January 2000 issue, he wrote about an excruciating choice he and his wife, Sherry, had made. Their child was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, meaning that there was no way the child would survive for more than a few days after birth. A geneticist recommended an immediate abortion, which the Walkers rejected on moral grounds. Jon told the doctor that he believed the baby was a creation of God and therefore deserved “dignified treatment.”
Jon and his wife had already lost three children in utero, so they knew what they were talking about. Jon admits, “The last 16 years haven’t been easy, and I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you that some days I wonder why God keeps asking us to walk this road. It doesn’t appear fair, but in those moments, I think about the prophet Jeremiah, who pleaded with God to let him go home and be quiet. He didn’t like the life he’d been called to, but then again, he came to realize it was never his life to live. It was God’s all along.”
Jon goes on say, “My wife and I wouldn’t trade the pain, the heartache or the difficulty of the last 16 years for anything if it meant abandoning God and his sovereignty in the process. We are better people because of the anvil he placed us on.”
Jon’s story doesn’t end there. In addition to losing this precious child – their fourth, in a twelve-month span Jon was rushed to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain leading to a gallbladder removal, had a kidney stone removed, a hernia repaired, and underwent an operation on his writing hand.
The suffering he experienced was enough for a decade, yet God had permitted it to descend in one brutal year. Even so, Jon treasures 1999. Jon says, “I have to tell you that I’m not at all defeated by these events. In fact, I’ve come to view this past year as perhaps the greatest of my life. I’ve learned that because God is in me, He’s also in the middle of the mess, and I’ve learned that the mess is there to show me where I’m hanging my hope.” (From Authentic Faith, p 80-81)
What’s the mess you’re facing right now and where are you hanging your hope?