Let me tell you a story. A few years ago, I found myself sitting with my wife Ruth in a hospital, waiting for a major surgery she needed. She was in good health and had talked to others who had experienced the same surgery. They recuperated quickly and were glad they had gone through with the surgery. Great, we were all set. I watched her being wheeled off to the operating room and then settled down in the lobby for the planned four hours of surgery. Little did I realize, that was when things started to go very wrong.
An hour later, I was unexpectedly called to meet with the surgeon and anesthesiologist. Only an hour into surgery and two very somber looking doctors – I knew this was not going to go well. As I went to meet them, I remember praying over and over, “God let her be alive, God let her be alive…”
The doctors told me that all had been going well and the operation had started when Ruth went into anaphylactic shock from the antibiotics they administered. Her blood pressure plummeted to 39/30 and she was dying on the operating room table. If there was any good news in this, it was that Ruth was still alive, responding to questions (to check for brain damage), and slowly recovering. Epinephrine had done the trick and she was still with us. However, more than the drug, God intervened in a direct and powerful way that day and I still thank Him for the doctors’ knowledge and their quick response in preserving my wife.
I found out later that the surgeon stopped by and talked with Ruth in the recovery room. She told her point blank that, statistically speaking, she was lucky to be alive and advised her to buy a lottery ticket. She said that with her luck, Ruth was bound to win. In that moment, the spotlight was on Ruth and her response. Instead of agreeing, she told the doctor that was not a gambler and that God was the reason why she was alive, not luck. We don’t know where the doctor went from there or what impact Ruth might have had on her life. What mattered is that for a moment, the doctor heard the truth of who God is. Ruth didn’t ask for that moment, but was thrust into it and was a bright light professing her confidence in her Savior.
Some of the most challenging events in life give you the most attentive audience. The question is, what are you going to do when the spotlight shines on you? What do you do if you are Jack Phillips, the baker from Colorado, in that moment when a same-sex couple asks you to bake a cake that goes against your beliefs? How do you respond when you are asked to vote for a candidate who will allow the continued killing of innocent preborn children?
We all have these watershed moments in our lives. When one of these moments comes, will you stand up for what is right and speak the truth boldly and in love? I certainly hope so.
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect — I Peter 3:15
President and Executive Director
Imagine a lady bent over with a crippling disease. She takes care of six children, four whom she adopted from her sister and husband who died of AIDS. The whole family lives in a small hut, sleeps on mats, and the eldest boy must be hitched to the plow because they don’t have an ox to pull it. This is not an imaginary place or family; it was a family I met years ago in Zambia.
As you might imagine, that image and experience is burned into my memory. So, why do I bring up this somber image on the verge of Thanksgiving? To remind us. We who live in America, and indeed North Dakota, are blessed beyond compare. God has granted us immeasurable grace, from the time of the pilgrims escaping religious persecution, to the beacon of liberty and democracy for the world we are today.
This Thanksgiving, when you gather around the dinner table with friends and family preparing for a sumptuous meal, remember our blessings. Our nation was founded on the principles of honoring God, ensuring religious freedom, allowing families to thrive, and honoring the sanctity of life. Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota is privileged to partner with you to help preserve these fundamentals. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving this year, with a heart filled with joy and gratitude!
President and Executive Director