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Lord, how should we respond?

When I saw the headline that France was celebrating after giving abortion constitutional inclusion, I was stunned. I could feel it in my stomach, a deep sadness that is no doubt pouring out of the heart of our Father. I sat transfixed for a few minutes, looking blankly at the thumbnail; it wasn’t until after five minutes that I summoned the courage to open the article and read it. Riddled throughout the triumphant article were words like “celebration,” “freedom,” and “protection.” President Macron was quoted saying that this decision was an example of “French pride;” I fear how true that statement really is. In truth, I was angry. My first reaction was: Is this where our prayers have gotten us?


We live in a day of reactions. The news we read and watch is pining for our attention, baiting civilization to participate in online wars, ratings, and comments whenever possible. Reactions are the new currency in today’s digital world. The louder the reaction, the more serious we must be…right? Reactions are easy; they come naturally, like second nature to us. Reactions are easily accessible, but a Christ-like response requires thought, consideration, and, most of all, prayer. 


Only a few moments in prayer had passed when my anger and bitterness began to dissipate. I could sense the Father’s broken heart as those emotions faded into the background. Instead of anger, there was grief. In place of bitterness, came sadness. I remembered Ezra, overcome with pain after seeing his people stray from God, he says: ‘I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.’ I cried out to God for forgiveness and asked Him to extend His hand of mercy. I felt the Father changing my heart of stone to a heart of flesh, and what proceeded came as a surprise. Compassion. 


TOM NICHOLSON/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK


I confess I wasn’t ready to feel that way; I was much more comfortable in my reactionary space of anger. But as I cried to Jesus, I knew He was pushing me towards compassion, reminding me that compassion is a precursor to the miraculous. I remembered that Jesus wants to save every unborn child and every mother that carries them. I’m reminded that even as they were nailing Jesus to the cross, He whispered a prayer that has echoed into this present day: Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing. 


This very morning, I had been working my way through the life of Elijah in the book of 1 Kings, and God used that to remind me of something significant. He’s seen this before. This isn’t the first time a nation has turned away from Him, and shockingly, this isn’t the first time the lives of children have been at risk. And when Elijah felt like all was lost and alone, God reminded him in 1 Kings 19:18: Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” Perhaps in a moment of great darkness, the church will again turn to the Father, cry out to Him in repentance, and respond in grace and mercy.


There is a church in France that will never be spoken of on the news. There are people in France who have been praying and will continue to pray, but they will never make the headlines. May we not be fooled into believing the lie that we are alone, fighting a fight we’ve already lost. As we feel the vats of our hearts fill with confusion, despair, and anxiety over a decision that goes against the sanctity of life, we must follow the instruction in Philippians 4: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


With Jesus, a life of prayer will lead you to a life on mission, a life in pursuit of justice. The journey of prayer has both worn knees and dirty hands. The prayers we often pray on our knees lead us into the world to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Prayers require participation. As many in the 24-7 Prayer movement have shared, God often will use you to be the answer to your own prayer. 


May we commit to prayer, mission, and justice. May we seek out ways to love the young mothers in this world, the orphans, and those living in the wake of abortion. The radical grace of God is more powerful than the sin that so easily entangles us. May we seek ways to influence culture and government while remembering that no earthly government can govern man's heart. 


President Macron took to Twitter to announce this decision. Here’s what he said: A universal message of solidarity to all women who today see this right violated: France will engrave in its Constitution the freedom of women to have recourse to abortion.


I’m struck by the words universal message. If this is the universal message sent out by those who hold this viewpoint, what will the universal message of the followers of Jesus be? May we move and act with the grace that has been given to us and by the leading of the Spirit of the living God.


Psalm 139:13-15

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.

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Beautifully written. We are heartbroken and hopeful with you.

J'aime
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