Wednesday, May 7, 2008

From one “nut case” to another

Today on a blog I like to read, the writer, who has been a Baptist minister for 37 years, posted an article entitled, “Almost The Whole Story: What’s Happened In Our Family Since Holy Week 07 And Why I’ve Been A Nut Case Ever Since.” He explains at length that his wife of over 30 years has been attracted to the Roman Catholic Church for about a year and will soon begin receiving instructions on becoming Roman Catholic. He is devastated, hurt, has stopped believing in the God he thought he knew, and is ready to chuck it all, or so it sounds to me. Here, for what it's worth, is what I posted in a comment:

Michael, I don’t know whether this will encourage you or make things worse, but this is my own “nut case” story. Ellie and I, parents of three children in five years, decided not to have any more children, so Ellie had an IUD inserted. (You can tell already we’re not Catholic.) Long story short, seven years later, a week before Christmas, she discovers that she is pregnant. Because an IUD is in place, the doctor is recommending a therapeutic abortion because of all the possible problems, which include death to both my wife and child. “Go home and think about it,” he says, “you still have a little time to decide.”

Ellie, a registered nurse with medical knowledge, whose own life is in danger, agrees with the doctor. Me, I go bonkers because my view is that God created this new life and I am not about to end it. We schedule a counseling session with the pastor of our very evangelical and pentecostal church, who I think will show Ellie that she is wrong and I am right. Instead, the pastor agrees with her and the doctor; he advises doing as the doctor recommends. [Note to personal friends who are reading this: We were living in a different city and attending a different church at the time. This is not our current pastor.] If you were 17 and this had happened in the back seat of a car, he says, I might be telling you something entirely different, but you had completed your family, you weren’t planning to have any more children, he says, you had taken steps to prevent any more children. What if the IUD is implanted in the baby’s brain, he says, and she gives birth to a monster. What about your other children who would be deprived of your attention and energy, he says. What if your wife dies because the IUD perforates her uterus, he says. I say, what about if God has given us this child to raise, He will give us the strength to cope with whatever comes? They both look at me like I am crazy. The pastor prays with us and says, “Go home and be with your family and have a Merry Christmas, and decide in January.” Ellie points out to me in the middle of my ravings on the way home that when our pastor prayed with us he had tears in his eyes. The next Sunday morning he leads the congregation in singing, “Only believe, only believe, all things are possible, only believe.” You @#$%&!# hypocrite, I think. Full of faith in the pulpit, but where are you one on one? Still, he is a good man. There were those tears.

Ellie and I stay up late for several nights talking as we’ve never talked in all our years of marriage. She is scared; I am scared. What to do? About a week later, after much inner turmoil (I can’t imagine what a whole year would be like), I say to the Lord, “If we have the abortion, I am going to be in the psychiatrist’s office every week. If we don’t have the abortion and something is wrong with the baby, Ellie is going to be in the psychiatrists’s office every week. We can’t solve this problem, Lord, so I give it to you. You are going to have to solve this problem.”

About a week later during the first week of January, Ellie experienced a spontaneous miscarriage. Afterward, she had a complete hysterectomy and the doctor found the IUD embedded in the very thinnest part of the uterine wall–-I probably would have lost both my wife and my baby if things had been done my way.

I said all that to say, God–-the real God, Jesus, not the one you have stopped believing in–-knows everything that is happening in your life and He will be your problem-solver. (I know that probably sounds trite, but it is true.) Right now, only He knows what the solution is to your problem. Keep an open mind and an open heart. Don’t let a root of bitterness creep in. If you find yourself becoming bitter, tell God all about it. Scream at Him if you like. When you have reached the end of your rope, then God can begin to work.

I heard a wise pastor (a different one) say that God seems to reserve the greatest suffering for His strongest saints. I am glad, in my own “nut case” example, that I am one of the weak ones.

We have to be like Job and say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

Please forgive me for going on too long. I will be praying for you and Denise.


  1. Quite an ordeal you and Ellie experienced. Thank you for sharing this story, and how you gave the situation over to the Lord.

  2. Beautifully put, although I'm sorry for the agony you had to be in. Your warning about bitterness resonates with me. I've recently become more aware of the far-reaching ramifications of a root of bitterness.