It’s hard for me to describe my feelings the first time I saw the fluttering heartbeat of the life growing inside of me during my first pregnancy. I was excited, afraid and overwhelmed all at the same time. The experience helped me gain a new appreciation for what it takes to create a life. My respect for the sanctity of life grew as I saw the image on the ultrasound transform into the baby who would become my son.
I gained even more respect for life as I watched my husband die during a seizure one night two years ago during my second pregnancy. In a few precious moments, someone who was once so full of life and spirit was gone. Just a few hours earlier, he’d been eating tacos and enjoying the NBA finals. Although an extremely painful ordeal, I recognize that the Lord privileged me to witness the beginning of a life and the end of one, both of which taught me about the preciousness and precariousness of life. The longer I live, the more I see the fragility of life. Psalm 103:15-16 says, “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more,” (NIV).
These experiences shape my beliefs and theology, especially when it comes to abortion. Thankfully, I have never been in the position where I’ve had to contemplate an abortion, so I don’t want to discredit or undermine the experience of others. Just this week, there was an article in the paper about an 11-year girl who gave birth to a baby as a result of rape. I cannot imagine the pain, confusion and sorrow she must feel. She is a child herself. Unfortunately, many girls and women have to live with the effects of sexual assault. However, even in those tragic circumstances, a life hangs in the balance.
As a result, I want you to take three things into consideration from a biblical perspective when thinking about abortion.
One of our foundational beliefs as Christians is the idea of redemption. Jesus shed His blood as a ransom or to redeem the lives of many (Matt. 20:28). Redemption is a reoccurring theme. The Bible talks about the redemption of land, inheritances and people (Lev. 25:25, 47-49; 27:15-20; Ruth 4:1-6; Ps. 72:4, 14; Jer. 32:1-15). Psalmists refer to God as our “redeemer” and say God will redeem our lives from the pit (Psalm 19:14; 103:4). Redemption can also be applied to life’s circumstances. God can turn things around or redeem the time (Joel 2:25; Rom. 8:28).
If we believe God has the power to redeem, then God can redeem an unwanted pregnancy that resulted from even the most horrific circumstances. Remember, God’s ways are much higher than our ways (Isa. 55:8-9). We cannot predict future outcomes, but God is all seeing and all knowing. He can and will provide and turn things around for our good. God can work miracles from something that is unexpected and unwanted.
In Romans 8:29-30, Paul talks about how God foreknew those who’d be conformed to the image of His Son. As a result, God makes provisions such as calling, justifying and glorifying those persons in Jesus Christ. This occurred because of God’s foreknowledge.
We don’t know the circumstances we may face in life or the consequences of our actions, but God knows. As a result, God’s already put a plan in place to help us make it through those challenges and circumstances. All we have to do is repent (when necessary) and ask for God’s help. Many people argue in support of abortion by talking about the baby’s quality of life. As believers, we know God is our source. We know all good and perfect gifts come from Him (James 1:17). We know as our Father, God will give good gifts to His children if we ask (Matt. 7:11). The Christian walk is accomplished by faith. We never know the outcomes of anything we face in life, but we trust and believe God will order our steps and provide for us each step of the way. God will do the same in an unwanted pregnancy.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see,” (NIV). As Christians, we are commanded to live by faith. We walk by faith and not sight. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. This goes for whatever circumstance we face – a sudden death of a loved one, a terminal diagnosis, a rape or sexual assault, or an unwanted pregnancy. We are commanded to believe by faith that God is working on our behalf. It is not easy, but we must believe that God will provide, comfort, protect, lead and guide us through life’s difficulties. We have to trust God. Joseph had to trust God in slavery and in prison. The Israelites had to trust God in the wilderness. Jacob had to trust God after he was tricked into marrying Leah. David had to trust God while he was on the run from Saul. Tamar had to trust God after she was raped. Mephibosheth had to trust God after he was crippled as a child. Naomi and Ruth had to trust God after their husbands died. Jesus had to trust God after he was arrested and sentenced to death. The list can go on and on. We, too, have to trust God even during the most difficult times. However, our faith tells us that we have victory even in the midst of difficulty.
My former New Testament professor, Dr. Cain Hope Felder, readily tells his testimony to students, and I believe it demonstrates what God can do in the midst of tragedy. His mother was raped by her husband’s brother. He is a product of that rape. She did not abort him, but named him “Cain” as a reflection of the violation. She selected “Hope” for his middle name as a testimony of what God can do. God can do the same for you.
Abortion is a sensitive and heated topic. However, as believers, if we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us, He will lead us in the way we should go.