Abortion Always Has At Least Two Victims

Always2

The mother and child logo* shown here was inspired by Dr. David Reardon’s book, Making Abortion Rare.  It was created to represent the tragic fact that abortion always has two victims, because you cannot hurt the child without hurting the mother.  The two are one and can only be separated by doing violence to both.

Making Abortion Rare presents a plan to end abortion by shining the light of truth on its many physical and psychological dangers to women.  To do this we must reach out to the millions of living victims of abortion, who desperately need healing.

The logo is a symbol of a pro-woman/pro-life belief that the church must provide an environment where these wounded women can grieve and heal surrounded by love.  It is a call to serve them in the name of the Lord until they are able to speak out against the horrors of abortion with a testimony that cannot be denied or ignored. “Always 2” is a collective cry from all across America to stop the daily slaughter of innocents and the daily violation of their mothers.

Although the logo was created because of the tragedy of abortion, it has triumphant meanings as well.  Any image of mother and child must make us immediately think of Mary and the infant Jesus, so it is a reminder that the Almighty God chose to enter His creation through the doorway of a womb.

He became a human so as to grow into the Man who would die on a cross and rise from the dead to open for us the doorway to eternal life.  The miracle of the Incarnation teaches us to protect mothers, consider the womb a sanctuary, and celebrate every birth no matter the circumstances surrounding it.

“Always 2” means that “unto us a Child is born and unto us a Son is given and the government shall be upon His shoulders and His name shall be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.’”

As we commit ourselves to the task of fighting abortion, we must remember that it is not a political but a spiritual struggle we are entering.  We have an invisible enemy destroying the closest bond in humanity by deceiving mothers into sacrificing their unborn children.  This is only a continuation of the destruction that he began in the Garden of Eden, and continued in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he deceived mankind into rebelling against our Creator.  Killing babies is only a step toward his ultimate goal of separating us from our heavenly Father forever.

For that reason, the logo also represents each believer cradled in the arms of our Creator. It is a reminder that He will never leave us or forsake us.  It is a reminder that apart from Him we can do nothing, but we can do all things through Jesus Christ who gives us strength.  It is a reminder that anyone who even thinks about joining the spiritual battle must make his relationship with the Lord the priority of his life.  “Always 2” means the child of God is safe in His arms.

Though we are never alone because He is with us, it is part of His design to knit us together with other believers.  From the perfect garden where He said that it is not good for man to be alone (though He Himself was there) to the time He walked this earth and sent His disciples out two by two, He has continuously taught us that two are better than one because they have good reward for their labor. If one falls down his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.  So the logo also represents the union of believers in the body of Christ.

It is vital for us each to have at least one comrade in arms to turn to when the battle rages, when the trials and testings come.  We need each other to pray with, to talk with, to mutually encourage and strengthen one another.  At times we will nurture, just like a mother, at times we will be nurtured, just like a child–all the while building a bond that is deeper than any ties of blood. “Always 2” reminds us that even when we are two individuals, we are truly one in the Spirit of Life and forever united in the family of God.

May the logo of the mother and child and the words “Always 2” become a familiar sign in the household of faith, like the memorial stones of ancient Israel, to remind us of the wonderful things the Lord has done.  He became like one of us to make us one with Him and one with each other.  He has given us life and power so that we might be His witnesses to a lost and dying world.

Who more clearly stands in need of that witness than the victims of abortion?  Not the children, for they are beyond our reach and already in God’s embrace.  But if we can offer the love and forgiveness of Christ to their mothers, their children’s tragic deaths may yet serve a redeeming purpose in helping to end the bloodshed in our nation.

This logo belongs to whosoever will use it to the glory of God.

*I originally wrote this as a tri-fold brochure for the church to use in the fight against abortion.  The text has been on Dr. Reardon’s website since 2001.

 

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Listening to All Women: Michelle’s Hurrah and Rachel’s Lament

800px-The_Massacre_of_the_Innocents_by_Rubens_(1638)_-_Alte_Pinakothek_-_Munich_-_Germany_2017

Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens

A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”

Michelle Wolf’s recent display of insensitivity concerning abortion has prompted me to share a poem that I wrote near the turn of the century after I read Dr. David Reardon’s book,  Making Abortion Rare: A Healing Strategy for A Divided Nation.

In the book, in his research, and in his entire ministry, Dr. Reardon focuses on the women in crisis who are daily exploited for profit by a massive abortion industry in our country and around the world.  It’s not that he doesn’t care about the unborn; he just understands that what is genuinely best for any pregnant woman will be best for her unborn child as well.  And that’s the message we need to bring into the public discussion of abortion.

I call Michelle Wolf’s attempt at comedy in defense of abortion insensitive because it is the kindest word I can find for it.  She has to be oblivious to the pain she could cause the millions of women who grieve the death of the millions of children sacrificed on the altar of abortion “rights.”  I can’t imagine that any woman would deliberately salute and celebrate a relentless instrument of human destruction, if she actually understands that it tortures and torments millions of her sisters.

Twenty years ago, Dr. Reardon made me think deeply about those sisters and their   heart-breaking stories of loss, regret, and grief.  I wrote Rachel’s Comfort for them, and I share the poem now to encourage more of them to boldly enter the discussion we must have.  I don’t want to persuade those who celebrate abortion to change their minds.  I do want to persuade them to listen to the grieving women who are living victims of abortion.

Justice Kennedy’s retirement has finally forced our nation to have this long overdue discussion about the reality of abortion that goes deeper than bumper stickers.  Dr. Reardon’s research showed me that the emotional and psychological pain that abortion caused women I know and love is common, and we must be allowed to openly acknowledge that emotional and psychological pain is “a highly probable side-effect.”  Since Roe v Wade made abortion on demand the law in our nation, millions of mothers have been convinced that destroying children in the womb is legalized violence against women for profit, and their voices must be heard.

Rachel’s Comfort is the story of the woman who believed she had no choice but to end the life of her child. It is the story of the woman whose choice to keep her child was stolen from her by circumstances, parents, an irresponsible father, or abortion advocacy.  It is a story of all the women who found out too late that abortion is bondage, not liberation.

 

Rachel’s Comfort*

In the heart of the Father a child was conceived:

God made man from dust and life to him breathed.

In beautiful Eden with creation’s work done

The Lord walked with Adam like Father with son.

With His image reflected in husband and wife,

God gave them His seeds to perpetuate life.

But a once perfect creature, now with pride-blinded eyes,

Watched loving companions he chose to despise.

A false promise of freedom tore them apart.

It was death to God’s children and grief to God’s heart.

 

In a moment of passion a child is conceived:

Sweet blessing rejected with parents deceived

By the same subtle creature who still whispers lies,

For those of God’s image he will always despise.

He reaps from the curse that was sown by his deed

When he started the great war against woman’s seed.

He continues to promise her freedom of choice,

While crushing each mother who follows his voice.

Now using a surgeon he tears them apart;

It’s death for her child, and it’s grief for her heart.

 

In the heart of a mother the child she conceived

Left her with an anguish that can’t be relieved.

For the guilt that she carries presses on her each day

As she longs for the baby her choice threw away.

Like Rachel in Ramah, she weeps in distress

While she clutches her two empty arms to her breast.

She must live with a secret too painful to share;

Her freedom was sold in a trap of despair

Where memory lingers as dark as the tomb

Of one precious life that was sucked from her womb.

 

In the womb of a virgin a Child was conceived

To bring Life Eternal for the world to receive.

God came to His own as the Lamb who was slain.

His cross was our price which He freely ordained.

The sin of the world crushed One pure, sinless heart,

As the cross bridged the gulf that kept us apart.

God suffered and died for His children that day

Blood poured from His side to wash sin away.

Then rising in power Christ set captives free,

With the right to choose life in God’s family.

 

In the heart of the Father a child was conceived,

With pardon and healing for the one who believed

In the Father of Life and the Son Whom He gave

To die on the cross so her soul could be saved.

In this world her baby cannot be restored,

But there’s comfort in knowing he is held by her Lord

Who recorded each teardrop when she wept alone

And gently, so gently kept calling her home

Until she surrendered to His voice of love.

Now she is God’s child: she’s been born from above.

 

*I have always imagined this poem set to simple music in a range that any woman could sing.  I pray it may become a song to bring healing to the living victims of abortion. 

 

 

 

The Precious Death of Nabeel Qureshi

 

The end of Dr. Nabeel Qureshi’s life in this world pours light on Psalm 116:15 for me.

Each time death claims someone I love, or someone who is loved by someone I love, I find peace in the knowledge that the Lord God sees the death of His children as precious.

Precious!

Highly valued!

Of great importance!

In grief, I always think of the Lord welcoming His beloved one home as though He is receiving a treasure that will be placed in suitable surroundings at last.

When Nabeel died, for the first time, I had a clear image of the heavenly treasure the King received. I saw a perfectly cut diamond with light shining from a thousand facets.

I saw a gemstone crushed by mining,

cut with precision,

and polished to perfection.

I think it may be possible that Nabeel surrendered his life so completely that the Lord was able to finish all the work He planned for this one precious life in just a few short years.

I often think about judgment, not fearfully, but curiously.  I wonder about the timing, the process, the duration.  I think about the Lord bringing to light the deep things I’ve hidden from myself.  I think it will be a time of purifying, refining, and even detoxing.  I am certain it will be a removal of all things that are contrary to the character of Christ.  I regularly ask the Lord to show me stuff now so I don’t have to deal with it in the judgment.

Perhaps Nabeel is an exceedingly rare gem who passed through judgment completely while still in the body of flesh.  I often wonder if that’s what happened to Enoch who walked with God and was not, for God took him.  I wonder if Enoch had his own personal rapture because the Lord had nothing more to teach him in this world.

Of course Nabeel was not raptured. His body was destroyed from within by a relentless disease.  I empathized with the spiritual battle he fought as he prayed for the physical healing that did not come, because I fought the same battle for years after I found a lump on my breast in 2002.   I watched Nabeel’s vlogs with ambivalence when he spoke of those who were certain he would be healed.  I heard that same certainty repeatedly as cancer ravaged my body through chemo, radiation, chemo, radiation, surgery, surgery, radiation, radiation, surgery, surgery.  I can’t count of the number of times I received anointing, laying on of hands, and assurance of healing over the past fifteen years.  And still I live with a terminal illness.

I watched Nabeel’s vlogs with hope when I heard that he was investigating nutritional support. My healthcare providers are frequently surprised by my tolerance of and recovery after the damaging treatments that are normal protocol for cancer.  I think my ability to endure and bounce back is, at least in part, a result of my effort to eat food as God made it.  However, my hope for Nabeel was never in food.  It was always in the God who loves him beyond my imagination, the God who continued to use him mightily even as his body was wasting away.  I empathized with Nabeel because I know what it is like struggle through cancer with a hundred different people offering a hundred different solutions.  For me that may be hyperbole, for Nabeel, it is probably a gross underestimate. Still I know how loving and well-meaning people can add to a burden they only want to relieve.

I watched Nabeel’s vlogs with deep compassion because years ago I reached precisely the same conclusion he reached from searching the scripture: It is always God’s will to heal.  But even as I received sure knowledge that it is always God’s will to heal our mortal frames, I also received sure knowledge that healing these mortal frames is never His highest priority.  That’s the comment I left on Nabeel’s Facebook page even as I continued to pray that we would see a miracle.  I think I also shared what I learned of the relationship between faith and healing.  Too many Christians have an idea that faith means you must believe that you will be healed without doubt, and if doubt creeps in you cancel the promise for healing. That’s another thing I can’t count: the number of times I was told that expressing doubt about my healing is the reason I still have cancer.  (sad sigh)

I doubt that I will be healed, but I don’t doubt Jesus. He used cancer to deepen my understanding of faith, and whenever Jesus speaks to those he healed, I know to read “faith” as “faith in me”. Their faith in Jesus made them well.  My faith in Jesus gives me peace and joy even though breast cancer metastasized to my liver and lungs. Nabeel’s faith in Jesus empowered him to pour out his life in service to the end.  With the last of his strength Nabeel displayed to the world that his unshakable faith was in Jesus who is worthy of praise even if He does not heal in a particular instance.

Nabeel’s faith was unquestionably in Jesus and not in healing.

That perfect gem of faith in Jesus was buried in Nabeel’s heart long before he knew the name of the One in whom he believed. His faithful friend, David, mined that gem with truth for years before it became visible to others.  The rough-cut stone was crushed through heartbreak as Nabeel chose to love his Lord more than his family.  And even when the process of refining had only just begun, the value of the diamond was recognized by everyone who heard him speak of Jesus. In his final year, Nabeel opened his life to the world and allowed us all to watch as the Lord cut facet, after facet, after beautiful facet to reflect the love of the God who does not always heal, but who always suffers with us.

I don’t wonder why Nabeel died because I know the King has the right to claim His treasure whenever He judges the time is best to do so.  Nabeel Qureshi joins the ranks of men like Oswald Chambers, Peter Marshall, and Jim Elliot.  Their lives were all cut short, but they will continue to bless millions of people for generations to come in ways that God alone can understand.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of Nabeel Qureshi.