Monday, February 24, 2020
Parables from a Residential Monk #7
Parable of Planned Parenthood
“Counting time in the womb which I always do because God does,” he’d say when asked his age, “I’m…”
He believed in the sanctity of all human life from womb to tomb; even beginning worship with a nod to divinely planned parenthood: “Before you were born, God knew you. Then God made you. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. God loves you so much. So He enfleshed in Jesus to save you. Now God wants you to be His. Let us worship God!”
She didn’t make an appointment to see him.
Waiting in the parking lot for him on Monday morning, he could see from the look on her face through the car window that she was angry as he pulled in.
Bolting out of her car as he barely got out of his, she blurted, “I need to see you right now!”
Whenever someone tells a pastor that they need to see them, especially first thing on Monday morning, it usually means they might have to update their vita at worst or endure a tongue-lashing at best.
“I really hated yesterday’s sermon,” she started as soon as she sat down in his study.
Trained for such moments, he responded, “You really hated yesterday’s sermon.”
She fired away: “You spoke against abortion. You said it’s a sin. You said it’s murder. You said there are really, really, really rare instances when it’s the right thing to do; but then you started your usual horse___ about it being really, really, really rare instances when it’s O.K. and an exception to the rule and how exceptions to the rules are called exceptions to the rules because they occur so infrequently that they’re exceptions to the rules. You are so full of…and I’m so tired of hearing you say Jesus is pro-life and Christians are pro-life and quoting Scripture and Mother Teresa and…”
He didn’t interrupt her.
Continuing to vent, her voice began to crack, tears welled in her eyes, and she seemed to be transferring a deep pain more than anger to him.
She started sobbing and stopped talking suddenly.
He said, “I am sorry if I have offended you; but I sense this is very personal to you.”
“___ yeah, excuse my language,” she said with an unmistakable brokenness.
Her sobbing became uncontrollable.
Trusting his instincts were inspired not indigested, he asked, “I may be wrong, and please forgive me if I am wrong, but have you had an abortion?”
“Yes,” she screamed, “and your predecessor said it was the right thing to do to save my marriage because my husband wasn’t the father. Then I was counseled at the clinic that it was the right thing to do because I wasn’t emotionally ready for another child; especially that way. But you make me feel so guilty for doing what they said was the right thing to do.”
“But,” he risked, “no one can make us feel anything without our consent. I’m wondering, and please tell me if I am wrong, if you’ve ever really agreed with them that it was the right thing to do.”
The flood of tears and groans from the deepest recesses of her being increased voluminously.
She cried, “What difference does it make now? My baby’s dead! I can’t bring my baby back! I’ve got to live with this for the rest of my life! You’ve just ripped the scab off my soul! I’ve been trying to get over it! I can’t! You’ve just made it worse! I hate you!”
“I think you hate what you’ve done,” he said while quickly adding before losing her, “and, still, I have some good news for you. God loves you and your baby and please give me a few moments to tell you about it.”
Looking up and directly into his eyes with a thirst for absolution, she almost begged, “Please!”
“First,” he said with convincing certainty, “God created your baby’s soul and your baby’s soul always belongs to God and is with God right now. By grace through faith in Jesus, your soul will be with your baby’s soul when we’re together in heaven.”
She exhaled loudly with relief.
“I also want you know,” he offered, “God will forgive what you did because God loves you so much. He came in Jesus because we make lots of mistakes – small and big – and we need someone to save us from the damning consequences of those mistakes.”
So desperate to feel forgiven, she leaned forward; feasting on every gospel note.
“Just like your baby will be with God forever in heaven, you will join your baby and everyone else as long as you trust your baby into His care, trust yourself into His care, and admit your mistake rather than make excuses for it.”
Then they spent some time in 1 John 1.
Her tears and groans were transformed from anger, fear, guilt and sorrow to an experience of forgiveness generating refreshed calm in detachment from past sin along with an anticipation of eternally reconciled reunion with God’s whole family.
Life is sacred by God’s design.
Life comes from God.
Life returns to God.
Father God’s love for life is limitless.
Paul: “God is for us. God is on our side. No one can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Blessings and Love!