A few days ago, I stumbled upon a conversation. Someone had mentioned that a woman was planning to have an abortion in a couple of days. The topic of the conversation was not about the abortion, it was just a side note. But it was the only part that caught my attention.
I wasn’t sure what to do. I wasn’t sure the best way to intervene or what I should say. I did know that I would regret not saying anything.
So I interrupted. My crisis counseling training kicked in and I realized the way the issue had been described, it seemed this woman seeking an abortion was in distress and asking for help. Was she uncertain about her decision? Was she hoping someone would talk her out of it? Did she feel like she had no other choice? I didn’t know, but I was willing to act on the possibility.
After explaining myself and expressing my concern, I asked if they would be willing to pass on information for a crisis pregnancy center to the woman. I offered my number to this complete stranger so I could share the information myself if I needed to. At first, I thought I had a chance of helping them see the importance of referring this woman to a crisis pregnancy center. But I didn’t. I mentioned free counseling and the option of adoption and then I gave them a link to a website anyway, praying they would change their mind and later decide to give this woman my contact information.
I left, feeling more than a little defeated, trying to ignore the disapproving comments from a few on-lookers. There was nothing else I could do. I had done the only thing possible, but I still felt helpless.
I still felt a little responsible for not being able to change the outcome.
It’s not every day that a person encounters a situation like this. Suddenly you step into a story you only ever hear about from a distance and the turning point of life or death inches towards your fingertips. It’s no longer something you think of as just happening somewhere in the world. It’s happening in your neighborhood and you cannot look away or pretend it’s not there. You have an opportunity to do something. Not just express an opinion. Not just support someone else who does the work. YOU have the opportunity to be that one person who can make a difference in whether a human being lives or dies.
In the moment, you are the only person in the world advocating for that one individual life.
But I couldn’t stop it.
And I don’t understand why. I don’t understand why this was brought to my attention if the Lord wasn’t trying to use me to make a difference. I don’t understand why He doesn’t always intervene.
It doesn’t make sense to me and it feels like the world has won.
But I also know that in these moments Satan wants us to feel defeated so we won’t speak up again.
I know I don’t see everything happening around me or behind the scenes. I don’t know who overheard what I said or how it may have impacted them. I don’t know what happened in between that day and the woman’s appointment.
I don’t know how small moments of faithfulness may influence other small moments, even when they don’t seem to accomplish something big in my corner of the world.
Although it’s important we feel an obligation to speak up – and we should always, because it’s our responsibility as followers of Christ – it’s equally important to remember we are not the one who saves. While the Lord often uses us to accomplish His plan, He can still accomplish it without us, around us, and despite us.
He’s the only one who can make transformation possible. That can be hard to swallow when it doesn’t happen, or not in the way we’d like, but the question of why these horrible things are part of our world is still a mystery that I’ll keep engaging.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to hold onto the promise that God is working even when I can’t see – especially when I can’t. I’ll trust He is still working all things together for good. I’ll still believe He is in control and He is always good. I’ll remember His plan is perfect.
I’ll rest in the fact that God is merciful and His highest desire is to bring us to Himself. I’ll keep having confidence that I will meet this child one day and hopefully his/her mom and dad, when death is no longer a separation.
I’ll keep speaking up, even if I’m not sure if it makes a difference, because there are no unwanted children. They are loved too much for any of us to stay silent. You never know how the Lord will use your obedience when we step out in faith.