Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother�s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
The engineer that designed a motor knows how it was created. The engineer understands how it works; what will affect it; what things are best for; what things can damage it; and what things can keep it running well. We are the works of God. God knows us from the inside out and understands every part of our being.
A pro-life legacy is a powerful thing to inherit. For Father Thomas Vander Woude, pastor at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville, VA, that legacy is ingrained deeply in his life and his ministry for very personal reasons. Vander Woude's father, Thomas Sr., proved that every life is precious, regardless of how the world perceives it.
Thomas Sr. and his wife, Mary Ellen, devout Catholics, had seven children. By the time they were expecting their seventh, the couple was in their 40's. The chance of birth defects was high. Josie was born with Down syndrome. Chris Vander Woude, one of the sons, says, "It didn't matter [that Josie had down syndrome]. He was my father's son, and that was all the reason my father needed to love him."
Thomas Sr. demonstrated that love in 2008. One morning, Thomas Sr. and Josie were in the yard when Josie fell into a broken septic tank, which, at 8-feet deep, was extremely dangerous. Thomas Sr. tried to grab his son, but it was fruitless. Immediately, he lowered himself into the tank, and because he couldn't keep Josie's head above the water line, decided to hold his breath, dive under, and hoist Josie onto his shoulders to keep him breathing. By the time the rescuers arrived, Thomas Sr. had died saving the life of his son.
This story of a father giving his life for a son that the majority of parents would have aborted impacts Reverend Thomas Vander Woude in powerful ways. Today, he carries on his father's legacy by building his ministry on pro-life truths. At one point, he catalyzed an outpouring of love for a young couple expecting a baby with Down syndrome. Several of these families offered to adopt the baby, which miraculously, the couple agreed to. And Thomas Sr.'s inheritance of God's love lives on in this child.
[Bonnie McMaken, Carol Stream, Illinois; sources: John Stonestreet, "Inheriting Pro-Life," BreakPoint Commentaries (7-23-13); Jeffrey Goldberg, "A Father's Day Lesson about Children, and Life," Bloomberg View (06-17-11).]
I paused whether to share the story above because people have different beliefs, values, and political reasoning. Pro-life versus Abortion is always a controversial subject, but that is not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the love of a father who gave his life for his son despite his birth defect and problems he might face in the future. This father loved his child and was willing to make a sacrifice for him, because he knew him and loved him.