Saturday, September 30, 2006

A terrible choice

I just finished reading a remarkable book entitled The Memory-Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards. In it, a physician makes a startling, even horrifying decision which alters his life forever. The book addresses important questions about attitudes towards the handicapped, family relationships, and the keeping of secrets. In the novel, Dr. David Henry gives away his daughter, a twin born with Down's Syndrome, just after her birth, without the knowledge of his sedated wife, whom he later tells that the second child had died. His secret alters the lives of his wife, the remaining "normal" twin, and those they meet.
Another sacrifice of a daughter is recorded in Judges 11, where Israel's military leader, Jephthah, vows that if God gives him victory in battle, he will sacrifice what he sees first when he returns home. To his horror, his daughter rushes out of the house to meet him. Remarkably, Jephthah appears in the "Hall of Fame of Faith" in Hebrews 11. His dedication, his willingness to sacrifice anything for God probably explain his appearance there. Still, his is an unexpected entry alongside Abraham, Noah, and Enoch. Like Samson and Barak, he is an unexpected faith hero.
What do you think? I think his story parallels also Abraham's, when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his "only-begotten" son, Isaac. God spared Abraham from performing that terrible act at the last moment; some argue that Jephthah too was spared and that he "devoted his daughter to God" in some other fashion. His horror suggests otherwise to me.
Sometimes redemption emerges after terrible choices; sometimes it does not. I pray that your life will be filled with hope and redemption.

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