“I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well.” (Psalm 139:14 – Read the chapter)
Sometimes you find yourself in the midst of a moment you weren’t expecting to experience. Now, technically, every second of our lives is a moment, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about a true moment; one of those times when the world gets a glimpse at reality in a way no one can ignore. I found myself there Wednesday night while watching the season premier of season 14 of America’s Got Talent.
Like American Idol did before it, as our culture has become more and more driven by stories, America’s Got Talent has gradually shifted its format from focusing on all the silly and inane auditions to highlighting the acts with the best stories. They may be heartwarming, they may be sob stories, they may simply be intended to advance the current cultural narrative, but they are the stories the producers think will grab and hold the attention of the most viewers. And the very best story is always saved for the final slot of the night.
Last night the show ended by featuring Kodi Lee. Do yourself a favor and watch his audition here, assuming you haven’t already seen it in one of its thousands of Facebook shares. Wasn’t that amazing? In case you missed it and couldn’t tell, Kodi is both blind and autistic. He can’t see a thing and he processes the world in a way you and I could never hope to understand. He is different. He is by almost any definition disabled.
And yet…have you watched his audition yet? In case I didn’t mention it before you should click here and do that. Did I already mention that? Holy smokes, right?!? How could someone like him sing and play like that? It was like Kodi sat down and somebody else inhabited his body to perform. There weren’t many dry eyes in that room. There weren’t because they all understood they were witnesses to a moment. The particular piece of reality we all got to watch in that moment was the fact that human value isn’t determined by any of the things we would normally consider. It comes from something transcendent to all of that.
Here’s the harder truth we as a culture should be wrestling with after that moment: Kodi is the kind of child who, were his particular uniquenesses to be diagnosed before birth, would have only the slimmest of chances of being allowed to be born. The odds are much greater that he would have been ripped limb from limb in the womb and sucked out with a special vacuum. And we would have all been poorer for it.
Right now there is a debate raging in our nation over whether or not it should be legal at all and if so under what set of circumstances to kill a baby while that child is still in the womb. Now, we can make all the arguments for and against this practice we want (and many have), but consider just this one thing right now: We don’t know what potential a life holds. Kodi’s life in the womb is one that, if we are being honest, would be quickly labeled as having limited to no potential. And yet…have you watched his audition video? You can watch it here. You should. It’s really good.
We don’t know what potential a life holds. Only God knows that. It may be that a particular child lives a completely unremarkable life in every way. It may be that a young man grows up to do great evil. It may be, though, that she grows up to impact the world like Kodi now has. Only time will tell. Given just that fact alone, shouldn’t we approach the question of whether or not it is morally or legally permissible to end that life before it has a chance to develop with a great deal more caution than so many do? I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see more Kodi’s in the world, not fewer.
As David said, we are wondrously and remarkably made by a Creator who loves us perfectly. He’s not limited in how He does His creating either. He might put someone in a package that from the outside looks like she is primed in every way for grand success. But He might also put incredible gifts in someone like Kodi, who most people will write off as merely disabled. We don’t know. Let’s not carry on like we do.