It all started with a casual conversation about a photograph. My sons and I were in the kitchen when a picture popped up on our digital frame. It was a photo of my oldest son and me at a baseball game. He said, “That’s me and you, mommy.” My younger son, not one to be left out, asked “And I was there too?” I casually answered him, “Oh yes, you were there, buddy. You were still in my tummy then.” He thought for a second and remarked, “I was scared in your tummy.” I smiled and told him, “No baby, you weren’t scared. You were warm and cozy and snuggly in there. A mommy’s tummy is the safest place in the whole world for a little baby.”
As soon as the words had left my mouth, I felt a little sad, because I realized that what I told him is not always true. Of course, I can’t explain that to my three year old right now. But as an adult, I know that sometimes a womb can be a scary and dangerous place, instead of a place of total security and love.
And so I began to think more about our conversation, and about the gift of life, unborn life in particular. I remembered that we are in January, and that means the March for Life is this month. I knew I should write something about it. But what could I say about an argument that has been going on now for 47 years, since the day the Roe vs. Wade decision was handed down by the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973? What could I say that hasn’t already been said? In the midst of a fight that rages, where the sides are so divided in opposite directions, where there is so much noise…can there be any quiet to stop and listen? Is it worth saying anything at all?
One of the main points from my Bible study group this week is the idea that faith is believing what God says. It’s such a simple statement really, but when I heard it, it hit me, and made me wonder; do we believe what God says in His Word about life? If we really do, wouldn’t there be a lot less to argue about? And I knew that was exactly what I needed to write about.
Children are a gift
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.”
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.”
1 Samuel 1:27
The Bible clearly says that children are a gift from God. As a mom of little ones, I spend a lot of my time looking at my children and realizing what precious gifts they are to me. I can never thank God enough for answering my prayers and giving me the blessing of being their mother. Children are not a burden, they are not an inconvenience to our plans, they are not a mistake, and they are not a “choice.” They are a gift and a reward. From all those who have been chosen by God to be a mother, He deserves our thanks and praise for such a priceless gift.
God Himself creates us in the womb and ordains our lives
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
“For 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, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
If you have carried a child in your own body, you likely have a special memory of the very first time you heard your son or daughter’s heartbeat on an ultrasound machine. It is overwhelming to hear that whooshing sound beating so quickly! A tiny baby heart races to pump blood, to develop the body of a new and unique individual.
Even long before modern medicine and technology, the writer of Psalm 139 had an understanding of the way God carefully designs each person. I love the imagery of God knitting together His children in the womb. Knitting is something that is done with a person’s own two hands. Imagine a mother-to-be knitting booties or a blanket for her expected child, the care she would take threading each loop, the thoughts she would have imagining what her new baby would be like. How beautiful that the same language is used to describe a loving God who carefully fashions each person. What a gift life is from the very moment God places it in a mother’s womb and begins His careful crafting.
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
“This is what the Lord says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.”
“Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”
We are created in the image of God
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Why should we value human life so much? Why do we consider it sacred? Why does it even matter? In the very first book of the Bible, we find the answer. We are made in the image of God Himself. Our lives are a reflection of our great creator. When we honor life, we honor the one who gives it.
Our world is so full of paradoxes. We mourn for the babies lost in miscarriages at 12 weeks, and cry with their hurting mothers. We remember them. How can we then at the same time consider it a “right” to decide that a baby at the very same age is disposable, and then forget about them? Is one considered a person because they are wanted and named, and the other not because they aren’t?
We pray and hope for the children born at 25 weeks as they fight for their lives in the NICU. We rejoice when they thrive. Yet there are some who fight for the “right” to terminate life even at that same age. When we stop and think about it, it doesn’t make any sense at all. Why is one valuable and worthy of life, and the other is not? Who decides? If we believe what God says, it really isn’t that complicated. Every life has the same value…the unborn, the elderly, the sick, those born with disabilities, people from every race, every nation, male and female, rich or poor, are all created in the image of God and are worthy of a right to life.
“Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?”
On Friday January 24, citizens will again march at the Nation’s Capital, as they do each January. They will march to remember the roughly 61 million lives that never came to be, all the potential for people who were never even born. They will also march to plead for the lives of many more who might still be given a chance. They will march to give a voice to the smallest and most helpless who can’t yet speak for themselves.
I have had the privilege of attending the March for Life in person two times, once in high school, and the other in college. I will not be there in Washington this year. I will be home with my two young sons. This year I will write words and hope people will read them. This year I will pray:
-for the safety and protection of all those marching
-for the babies that were never born and are resting in the arms of God
-for the babies that can still be saved
-for pregnant women and mothers who are scared and confused
-for anyone who has been hurt by abortion, or is haunted by guilt, shame, and regret.
-for mothers who chose life and kept their babies
-for mothers who chose life and chose adoption, and for the adoptive families that give loving homes
-for our country’s lawmakers and courts
-for forgiveness for our nation and how we have rejected the precious gift of life from God, how we have treated it like a burden, something to fight over, and proclaimed ourselves in charge of who lives and dies
-for open hearts and wisdom to understand that life is a gift from God
-for faith, for hope, for love, for peace
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”
Children are God’s gift. He creates each life, He weaves it together in His very image. As I end this very long post, here is a story ponder.
Once upon a time there was a young girl. She tried her best to trust God and follow His will for her life. One day, she found out that she was going to have a baby. That was pretty confusing and scary for her since she wasn’t married yet, and in fact, she was still a virgin.
She must have wondered what might happen to the plans she had made for her life, for her future engagement and marriage. She must have feared how people she knew would look at her, or condemn her…or worse. Even though she hadn’t done anything wrong to cause her circumstances, others might still look down on her because of her situation.
Despite all that, she didn’t hesitate to accept God’s plan for her life. She didn’t focus on the fears, or the “what if’s”. This young lady focused on God’s promises and His goodness. She knew she could trust Him completely, even if she didn’t completely understand. She willingly submitted to whatever He would ask of her.
This, of course, is a true story. This special young lady was named Mary. And the baby she carried and gave birth to, her Son…He is called Jesus Christ, the Lord.
He is God’s most perfect gift of love to humanity, the promised one who alone can redeem His people. How fitting that He came as a baby, helpless and dependent upon His mother.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Those who trust Jesus Christ in faith will be held securely no matter what may come. Every life is a gift, and the life we find in knowing Him, is the greatest gift of all.
It just started with a simple conversation with my sons. And now I finally reached the answer. For a baby, for a mother, for every person to whom God has given life, to be securely held in the arms of Jesus Christ, is truly the safest place in the world.