June 2008 – “American culture has embraced a culture of death,” said Terry Morris, a father who knows the truth of these words all too well. “We no longer see life as a gift from the Creator, only as an accident of some evolutionary force. Even the church has been influenced by this,” At the age of three, Morris’ son Joel was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma. After chemotherapy, a hospital stay and a visit home for Christmas, Joel returned for his second round of chemo only to suffer from a bleeding tumor in his head and to be declared brain dead.
To the doctor, Joel’s life had ended.
To the 15-member Morris family, Joel was still alive because his blood was flowing and his heart beating. They clung to the Scripture that “life is in the blood,” and they were not willing to sacrifice the sanctity of their son’s life.
“The term ‘quality of life’ has subtly worked its way into our lives,” Morris said. If some official determines that a life has ‘no quality’ then it can be snuffed out. This is wrong, and we must stand against it.”
Joel’s doctor took the Morris family to court in an attempt to force the family to take their son off life support, but the Morris family wouldn’t budge because doing so would mean taking the life of their son. Both legal and medical battles ensued as the family sought a doctor to care for Joel.
January 23, 2007 – just over a month after Joel’s diagnosis – Terry and his wife Cindy were making arrangements to bring their sick son home when his little heart stopped beating. Their lives were changed forever. In the end, the Morris family lost a dear member, but it was still worth the fight.
“From the beginning of our marriage, we have been committed to the Biblical truth that children are a blessing,” Morris said. “To reject children before they come is really the same philosophy as that of abortion, which rejects children after they are conceived. … As a father, it is my responsibility to care for my children and to protect their lives. It was my privilege to fight for Joel’s life.”
The family continues to fight for the right to life by sharing their story on DVD. Joel’s Journey is a powerful 33-minute look at the sanctity of human life through the experience of the Morris family.
The DVD project is the result of a vision the Lord planted in the heart of family friend John-Clay Burnett of Reelcast Productions. Burnett began to document Joel’s hospital stay on video and since then has worked with the Morris family to share their story through a medium that has the potential to impact a countless number of people. The two oldest Morris brothers composed the music for the DVD.
“[Through the DVD], we hope that others will see the danger of the culture of death that has enveloped our country and its medical community,” Morris said. “We want the church in America to wake up and see the danger of the cheapening of the value of human life.”
For more from the Morris family, visit www.weloveyoujoel.blogspot.com.
Thoughts on fatherhood from Terry Morris
My foundation of fatherhood is rooted in Deuteronomy 6: “Teach these things to your children. …” It also has roots in Ephesians 6: “And ye fathers bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
The Lord Jesus will hold me accountable for how I have raised my children. I must train them in the truths of God’s Word. It is my desire for the Lord to use me to raise up the foundations of many Godly generations. …
[After all] a successful father, in my opinion, needs to be humbly dependent on the Lord. … God’s Word tells us to teach our children as we walk with them by the way. We must do whatever it takes to be with them and teach them God’s truth by word and by example. …
Don’t sacrifice time with your children for some personal hobby. Give it up and play ball in the yard with your sons. In short, pray, trust in God, walk with your children by the way, and teach them God’s Word.
I think God used Joel to help me get my priorities straight. I still have a long way to go, but with His help I will win the victory.