It lay dead–a scarlet red cardinal tragically, permanently positioned on its side. Seeing its lifeless body sorrowed me and cast gloom over my garden, which otherwise delights me. I kept meaning to gently move this once-lovely bird’s body into the woods. But viewing it only from a certain vantage point in my office, I forgot. Until one day it disappeared, though scattered feathers continue to float in our decorative pond … reminding me.
It took me nearly a year to return to sidewalk ministry. While I never completely forgot, life’s pace–along with slight trepidation–prevented me. Compellingly the Holy Spirit urged me forward. He reminded me. He took me back. This past Saturday I stood on the road leading to an abortion clinic. Waving at approaching cars in an effort to speak with the occupants, I knew I stood exactly where God wanted me–though at first I felt unsure.
Upon arriving, my friend and I spoke with others engaged in ministry. Glad to see us, they shared helpful information. Simultaneously we were greeted by the grating sound of a woman’s raspy voice. Hate radiating from her, she relentlessly yelled, “Stop harassing women! Stop harassing women!” Desperately she opposed the truth being presented. Demeaningly she tore down those offering help and hastened drivers to enter the parking lot.
Which was full. Babies were dying. Cars kept coming.
Amidst the chaos of noise, an eerie quiet pressed. After praying for a lady pleading with moms over the loudspeaker, I just stood there. What was I supposed to do? No one imparted an organized plan directing me how to minister in this horrific place.
But God was there, watching His creation and supplying strength to those who called on Him.
The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” Ps. 24:1, NASB
The LORD will give strength to His people…” Ps. 29:11
Clearly the Spirit impressed me to stand on the road, beckoning drivers to speak with me. Graciously God opened conversation with eight people. Four cars stopped:
the first contained what appeared to be a mother and daughter
the second I can’t remember
the third carried a smiling, seemingly indifferent young woman and likely her mom
the fourth bore a young couple–smoking while listening. Sunglasses covering her downcast eyes, the young lady refused to meet my gaze until the end of our interaction
All of these people received cards containing Scripture verses and thoughtful words. At least one of them read theirs. Best I can tell, none of them changed their minds.
All of them ended the life of their unborn child.
Scenarios like this occur six days per week at this clinic alone–not to mention nationwide. Grievous, dreadful, and evil, such situations showcase the enemy’s work.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Ps. 27:13
Despite the wave of wickedness flooding that place, God reigns. He sees. And He will have the final say. I retain hope knowing His Word never returns void–His purposes for it will be accomplished (see Isaiah 55:11). My prayers rise for those who chose death that day, but Lord willing will choose life another day. God’s forgiveness and healing in Christ transform all who trust Him, whatever our sin.
Infinitely more devastating than a red bird’s death, these babies’ blood drenches our land. Just as God revealed where I should literally stand last Saturday, He’ll unquestionably show each of us how to stand for Him regarding this issue. Will we:
Engage in sidewalk ministry ourselves?
Regularly battle in prayer?
Labor at pregnancy centers designed to provide practical help?
Obediently share the Gospel with those God sends our way?
The cardinal’s demise in my garden reminds me of heart-wrenching tragedy on an inconceivably larger scale. Millions of children created in God’s image have been destroyed. Bodies torn apart, they’re callously disposed of … and forgotten. But not by God.