One of the greatest social dilemmas of our day is undoubtedly the issue of abortion, with strong views expressed on either side of the on-going debate as to whether or not such a far-reaching course of action can ever be justified. One of the more understandable reasons given in support of abortion is of course when the conception is the result of rape.
With this in mind however, circumstances recounted by Dr Robert Petterson might cause some of us to revise our own position on this matter, or at least give us food for thought. My summary of his story is as follows:-
Maria was born into what was termed in those days the 'serving class'. Her first marriage failed and her second also proved to be little short of a miserable disaster. The couple's first child died 6 weeks after he was born. Her husband became a heavy drinker and when he wasn't in a drunken stupor he was with other women. Then the beatings began and it was no surprise that she was to refer to her life as 'a chain of sorrows'.
After her husband had taken advantage of her in one of his brutal rages she discovered she was pregnant. But she determined that she wasn't about to bring a child conceived by rape into her miserable world.
She found a woman who traded in concoctions that would induce a miscarriage. And although she'd been told that only 3 drops would kill her baby she dumped the whole lot into a cup of tea. But before she was able to drink it, the cup was accidentally knocked off the table. At first she was hysterical. But she began to resign herself to the fact that God must have a purpose for her unwanted child.
He turned out to be a strange little boy, often reclusive and unresponsive, though he did have a love for music.
When a local teacher took him on as a piano student no-one imagined that he might become a prodigy. Maria was 40 years of age when this teacher is believed to have told her that her son was destined for greatness.
But all too soon the teenage lad was at his mother's death-bed. Yet despite her unhappy life she was able to tell her son that giving birth to him had been the best thing she had ever done.
Dr Petterson goes on to remind us that...
'We should all be grateful that Maria van Beethoven did not abort little Ludwig, a child of rape who would grow up to write the world's greatest symphonies. Maybe you too were unplanned or unwanted. But God conceived you as his masterpiece.'
'...you created my inmost being; you knit me together
in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful...'
Decisions surrounding the whole subject of abortion are amongst the most complex and emotionally challenging of any to be faced in life. But hopefully the story of Ludwig van Beethoven will provide encouragement to proceed with a pregnancy which, though unplanned and initially unwanted, might prove to become one of God's richest blessings.