A Response to Roe v. Wade & Call to Action

Yesterday, a decision was made which led many to rejoice and many to mourn. After nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. Now, the right to abortion is no longer a constitutional right, but has instead been turned into the hands of each individual state.

Shortly after this decision was made, I began to see posts of others, some joyful and hopeful, some saddened and outraged. And, although I was excited myself, a mix of other emotions quickly rose to the surface as well. Because, although many Christians across the United States are overjoyed, I realized many of those people do not realize the additional weight of responsibility which is now on the Church.

As a Christian, I firmly believe every person was created by God. This means that in your mother’s womb, you were specifically shaped, designed, and given life by the same God that created our universe. I believe the life of every person is sacred and should be protected.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13

I believe that life begins at the moment of conception, because this is the moment cells begin multiplying and forming a child. The Psalms of David in scripture, songs written to the Lord, mention this creative process several times. Each time, there is no distinction between being a child within the womb, or outside the womb. David sings of how, from his forming in the womb until the Lord brought him out of the womb, he was forming him both in body and spirit.

Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.

Psalm 71:6

I believe that the life of every human being should be protected. And because I can see the evidence an unborn child is a human being as well (both from Scripture and observing conception, pregnancy, and birth from a scientific perspective), I believe these children should be protected at all cost. This means protecting every unborn child in the same way we would protect a two-year-old child which has been blessed to see the world.

As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

Ecclesiastes 11:5

These beliefs are the reason I rejoiced yesterday. Because now, a step has been taken toward protecting the lives of innocent children, giving some a chance to experience life in this world.

However, in my rejoicing, I also was troubled yesterday. In addition to seeing may posts praising God for his hand in this decision, I also saw many posts written by those who were angry. Some of these posts accused Christians, conservatives, and other pro-life individuals of forgetting about the women who are stuck in difficult situations and decisions. Additionally, some pointed out the difficult situations those children may be born into, pointing out how many children are already being neglected.

I was troubled by this, because I believe in many ways, these accusations are true. And because of these accusations, I began to recognize how the overturning of Roe v. Wade will impact the Church in America. When I say “Church” I do not mean individual churches, I mean every person that believes in and follows Christ. I mean the individual. I mean you. The overturning of Roe v. Wade does not just effect unborn children and the women who are carrying them, it effects every single Christian who is rejoicing today. Because now, more than ever, the eyes of the world are on us, scrutinizing every move, picking apart every word, and watching and waiting to see what we will do.

So often, in the fight for life, the focus is completely on the unborn child. This is incredibly important if we hope to protect their life. However, if we become so focused on the unborn child that we also forget to protect the life of the mother, we become hypocrites. Or, if we protect the life of the unborn child and encourage and support the mother until she gives birth, but neglect both once the child is born, we become hypocrites and fail to represent Christ.

Often, the choice for abortion is not made because all options have been carefully considered, but because there is a lack of options. Women, who are fearful, lost, and stuck, are searching for a way to preserve their life, and view their pregnancy as a roadblock or dead end. Abortion means removing the roadblock. Or, these women may be financially, mentally, or physically unable to support and protect their unborn child after birth. Fearfully, they come to “save” their child from a life of poverty, malnourishment, disease, or abuse. These are only a few examples of the many reasons a woman may seek out an abortion. Every woman’s story is unique and presents its own challenges and difficulties.

One of the biggest issues in these cases, is they often have not been presented with an option which saves both the child’s life and helps them through of the difficult situation they are in. Simply saying “don’t kill your child” or holding up posters outside abortion clinics is not enough. The mothers, regardless of their reason to seeking out an abortion, are in need of direct support, encouragement, and prayer, and should be heard. And, with others gathering around to support them, it is possible to save both the life of the child and meet the needs and concerns of the mother. This is where the Church should be stepping into action.

Christians, Scripture is filled with a call for us, as followers of Christ, to protect and provide for the “orphans”, the “fatherless”, and the “widows”. We are called to provide food, water, shelter, clothing, and support to those who are in need. This is not just something we are meant to do to be nice to others, it is an incredibly important part of what is means to follow Christ. In fact, Jesus specifically mentions some of those things in Matthew, as he speaks about the day of Judgment. In this passage, those who did provide for “the least of these”, were the ones he said would spend eternity with Him.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:35-40

Why is this so important? Because we, as Christians, make up the Body of Christ. We are a representation to the world around us of who God is. In the Psalms, David sings and says:

Father of the fatherless and protector of the widows is God in his holy habitation.

Psalm 68:5

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.

Psalm 27:10

God is the Father of the fatherless. He is the Protector of the widows. He takes in the orphans and those who are abandoned. And so, as image bearers of Christ, we are called to do the same. In fact, we should strive to do the same, not just because we are representing Christ, but because we were also direct recipients of this as well.

In John, Jesus shares with His disciples that He will no longer physically be with them on the earth, but He is sending His spirit to be with them. He says:

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live”

John 14:18-19

“Because I live, you also will live”. Every single one of us, before we knew Christ, was dead in our sin. We were alive in this world, but dead because we lived apart from God. We were fatherless and orphans until He was our Father. We were widowed until we became the Bride of Christ. And we were dead until He brought us life. Christ came, died, and rose again so that we may live. And as His disciples, we are called to bring others into Life as well. And, because he took us in, protected us, cared for us, and loved us, we also should do the same.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35

We are called to love one another as Christ loved us. Christ does not love with an “all inclusive” or “anything goes” love. Christ came to show us that our sin was destructive and wrong, and He called us away from it. He calls us to leave our sin so we may be His children.

We are not called to love others in a way that ignores sin. We cannot ignore the killing of unborn babies. However, in showing others that it is destructive and wrong, and calling them away from it, we must welcome them into something better. We must then provide protection for the widows, be a father to the fatherless, and take in those whose father and mother have left them.

This means bringing mothers into your home and having dinner with them. This means providing her financial support if needed. This means providing a place to stay if she needs a safe home. This means caring for her in every way possible. This means showing her the love of Christ. And maybe, this means taking in her child after she gives birth. It means adopting, fostering, and caring for the children that are in need. It means showing both the mother and child in any and every way possible, that they are loved and cared for both here and now, and by a Creator that is calling them to be His child.

By this ALL PEOPLE will know we are His disciples.

Diaper drives are wonderful, but we are called to more than that. As the Church, every individual is called to action. Now, more than ever, we must be examples of Christ in our communities and to all those around us. This means directly supporting the women and unborn children who are facing the decision of abortion. It means directly stepping in and offering support. It means providing whatever is necessary, including food, water, shelter, clothing, and finances.

If we are going to protect these children at all cost, that means sacrificing. It means it will cost you something. But that is the example of Christ.

So, finally, I present both a warning and an encouragement. For Christians, Roe v. Wade being overturned is a reason to rejoice. But please do not get caught up in rejoicing and forget all you say and do is meant to be an example of who Christ is. The world is watching, more than ever before. So let us serve others, protect life, and love the way Christ loved us, so we may be a light in this broken world.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:27

If you are a mother facing an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy, please feel free to contact me. I want to be available for you and your child in whatever ways you may need.

I Don’t Wanna Go

If your Presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?

Exodus 33: 15-16

Like any good Christian, I like to devote at least an hour of my day to reading the Bible. However, like every Christian, I am an imperfect person, and as much as I would like to devote an hour of my day to studying Scripture, I usually forget, get distracted, or end up prioritizing other things.

Since this happens quite frequently, I found myself last night nearly ten days behind on my Bible reading plan. Realizing I would only get further behind if I didn’t take some time to sit down and read, I ended up spending about an hour and a half reading through Exodus. In the midst of the many chapters and verses, one passage in particular jumped out at me.

In Exodus 33: 12-23, Moses is speaking to the Lord. (This in and of itself is crazy to me, because in verse 11, it says “the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to His friends”. Not only is Moses speaking to the Lord and hearing response, he is actually having a face to face conversation with God. So. Cool. But I digress.)

This passage goes on to share a conversation between Moses and the Lord where Moses starts to question God about what is going on. The Israelites at this point have escaped Egypt, set up camp in the wilderness, been quite whiny, and have actually built an idol for themselves with the help of Moses’ brother Aaron. Meanwhile, God has done miracle after miracle, parting the red sea, stopping the Egyptians pursuing them, going before them as a pillar of fire and smoke to guide and protect them, providing food and water in the desert, and even giving the opportunity for Moses to come receive direct commandments from Him on Mount Sinai.

To summarize, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. God has been providing and delivering the Israelites time after time, but the people don’t seem to care much and continue turning away from God. A bit of a frustrating situation for Moses to be in, I’m sure, especially as He is trying to help lead this group of people who seem to prefer captivity in Egypt.

Although Moses had some direction from the Lord to “‘bring up this people'” (33: 12) from Egypt, he doesn’t have all the details he is hoping for, and says to the Lord, “if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways”. Pretty reasonable request, right? Just hoping for a few more details, a little more insight, a greater understanding of what comes next.

And then in response, God says

My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest

Exodus 33: 14

That’s it. No explanation, no details, no further instruction. It seems passive. Like God doesn’t really want to tell Moses, or like He’s avoiding the question. It seems like a frustrating response, honestly. But it was enough.

God didn’t give answers to Moses. He didn’t tell him what was coming next. He didn’t explain Himself. But, He gave Moses everything he needed – the promise of His Presence. The promise that He would not leave them alone in the wilderness, abandon them, or fail to deliver them. The promise that He would remain with them and not only that, but He would provide rest for them in the stressful, roller coaster situation they were in.

And in response, Moses says:

If your Presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?

Exodus 33: 15-16

Lord, if your Presence is not with us, then it’s not even worth going. Because you, and only you, are what sets us apart from everyone else here on this earth. We are nothing without You.

The truth in Moses’s statement was not just a poetic or passionate declaration of His commitment to God. It was a very factual statement. The Israelites were a very small people group, and if it wasn’t for God specifically choosing to set them apart as a nation, they likely would have been blotted out by the first kingdom or empire they went to battle with. The truth was, the only reason the Israelites were still a nation was because God had selected them – the weak, the insignificant, and the unworthy – to bear His Name.

Here’s the thing about the Bible – God is always using it to tell a story. Often, those stories have a lot of parallels and as one story unfolds, you start to see more and more of the larger story God is writing in the process. In the Old testament, God chooses a nation that is weak, insignificant, and unworthy, and decides to make them the nation that will carry His Name. Then, He sets them free from the nation that is oppressing them. Over many years, the Israelites try to follow God’s commandments, but in the end, are pretty unfaithful. But, despite all this, because of His great mercy, God chooses to love them anyway, covering their mistakes with the blood of sacrifices, and provides for them in every way. In the end, He brings them into the Promised Land, which He has set apart for them and makes them into a great nation, all because of who He is and what He has done.

This is only a small piece of the story the Old Testament tells, but can you see any parallels in this story with an even bigger one that has been told?

How about this – God chooses a group of people who are weak, insignificant, and unworthy, and decides to make them the people that will carry His Name. He sets these people free from the power of sin and death which has been holding them captive for thousands of years. These people, set free from sin and death, try their best to love and serve God, but even then, are often unfaithful. But, despite this, because of His great mercy, God chooses to love them anyway, covering every mistake with the blood of His sacrifice, and provides for them in every way. In the end, He brings them into the Kingdom of Heaven, which He has set apart for them to spend eternity in His Presence, and even on earth, He makes them into a great Kingdom – His Kingdom – all because of who He is and what He has done.

We may not be Israelites, but we are broken, sinful people. And despite this, God has done absolutely everything, even to the point of dying in our place, to set us free from that brokenness. He died for us, and then conquered death, rose from the dead, and gave us the promise of His Presence.

In Acts, Luke accounts Jesus is speaking with His followers and disciples. In chapter one, they ask Jesus what His plans are, what is coming next, and what they should expect. In a very similar way to how God answers Moses in Exodus, Jesus replies,

It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 1: 7-8

When we make Christ the Lord of our lives and choose to follow Him, we receive the Holy Spirit, which is His Presence within us. The Holy Spirit is what sets us apart from the rest of the world, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives us peace (John 14: 25-27). Jesus promises us that the Holy Spirit will always be with us (John 14: 15-17). His Presence is what shows the world that God has chosen us to bear His Name, and that we have found favor in His sight.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2: 9-10

Back in Exodus, Moses is seeking answers. Things are not going the way He expected, but He knows God has a plan. In Acts, the disciples are seeking answers. A lot has happened over the last few years that they didn’t understand, but they can see God has something in mind. And likewise, today, I am seeking answers. Although I know God has called me and is preparing me for some things in life, I don’t really understand what is happening right now. But, I know God is in control.

What great comfort there is knowing that I am not the first person in history that isn’t getting the answers that I was hoping for when I asked God. And praise God for the even greater comfort which He gives through His Spirit.

I may not know what God is doing right now, but I do know that even when I don’t have answers, the clarity I am hoping for, or the details of the situation, I do have the only thing I will ever need – God’s Presence.

Like Moses in the desert, I want to see the land

But like Moses in the desert, I can’t fully see your plan

Still your love doesn’t stop, When I see the land from a mountain top…

…I don’t wanna go if you’re not going before me

“I Don’t Wanna Go” by Chris Renzema

God is going to take me a lot of places in my life that will be unexpected. I will go through many situations that I do not understand. But no matter where I go or what I do, I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything if the Lord does not go there with me. Because it is only through Him that I am set apart. It is only His Spirit in me that makes me distinct from the world. Without Him, I am nothing.

Father, I may not understand what you are doing. I may not know the details or have the clarity I want. But what I do have is Your Presence. Remind me often, Lord, that Your Spirit is enough. And Father, let Your Spirit go before me. I don’t want to go anywhere without Your Presence there to guide me and strengthen me. Without you, I am nothing, and all I do would be worth nothing. Thank You, Lord, for promising your Presence and peace, no matter what is going on, no matter how hopeless a situation may feel or how confused I may be. Thank You for everything you are doing in advance. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.