Friday, April 5, 2019

The Ultimate in Unplanned: And How to Respond

"For you formed my inward parts, 
you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 
I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." 
Psalm 139:13-14

I saw the movie “Unplanned” last night. It’s one of the most poignant and thought-provoking films I have see in a long time. It’s not an easy one to watch, but it exposes truth – truth that is so desperately needed in our culture right now.

I feel the need to write. I feel the Spirit leading, and the time is ripe to get words out to those who are willing to read them The movie got me thinking and convicted my heart of complacency on my own part.

The Ultimate Unplanned Pregnancy

The ultimate in unplanned pregnancies was predestined before the beginning of the world. I cannot help but think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was a teenager – maybe 13-15 years old. She was engaged to be married, yet a virgin. Talk about shock when she hears from the angel that she will become pregnant. That might be expected for a young girl fooling around, it may be a surprise when her methods of “prevention” don't prevent. But Mary had to ask the question, HOW CAN THIS BE since I am a virgin? (See Luke 1:26-38) It defied logic. Talk about an unplanned pregnancy.

I’m sure Mary, after submitting herself to the will of God so gracefully, started wondering how she was going to tell her parents. What would Joseph think? There was a law that a woman pregnant outside of marriage should be stoned. Was she in danger? I’m sure she felt alone. Frightened – terrified even. She knew they would all find out eventually – when she didn’t separate herself as the law required when her time of woman came each month. I’m sure she questioned whether this was the right time for her to become a mother. She probably doubted whether she had what it would take to raise a son – much less the son of God!

And I started musing over the fact that God would choose a virgin to bear his son. Outside of the necessary fact of Jesus being separate from Adam’s seed, I wonder if God chose a virgin to give us a beautiful picture of grace in the midst of an “unplanned pregnancy.”

What if it Happened Today?

I cannot help but wonder what Mary would endure if today in our culture, in our country, she found herself in those circumstances – A member of a minority group, a very young teenager, she finds out she is pregnant and no one knows who the father is, part of a religious community that scorns shame and embarrassment. Would she find the support she needed? Or would she more likely be taken to a planned parenthood clinic to “take care of the problem?” We want our daughter to have a life and opportunities. No one will accept her, much less marry her if she has a child at her age. She’s not ready to become a mother. Her parents might think. Would they see an easy out in order to protect their daughter and themselves?

What about her friends? Would they encourage her to take a simple pill so her life can get back to normal? Would they repeat the lies in her ears that it’s just a blob of tissue and cannot feel anything at this point?

How Would I Respond?

What about me? Would I pray for her, encourage her, support her, take her to a Pregnancy care center, help her look into options and love her like Christ? Or like so many abortions happening in my neighboring cities each day, would I ignore it? It’s not my problem. I cannot solve a national crisis. It doesn’t affect me. It’s not my responsibility. And some might argue that scripture isn’t even clear on the matter of abortion. I really appreciate the perspective drawn out in this article to address that issue specifically.

The problem is, it would affect me and everyone else on the planet who ever lived. Getting rid of that "blob of tissue" would have destroyed the Savior of the world and denied the possibility of salvation through Christ. Each “Unplanned” pregnancy has the potential to change the world! (This is not denying the sovereignty of God and that his plans could not be thwarted. Using this example is simply to show how God can even use unexpected circumstances to bring himself ultimate glory.)

God's Grace through Joseph

But Joseph, being a righteous man, did not want to publicly shame Mary. He put her away quietly and protected both her dignity and was a crucial instrument in protecting the innocent, beautiful life of the Son of God. He didn’t listen to the culture. He didn’t fall prey to the expectations of his neighbors or his Rabbi. He didn’t follow the requirements so stringently placed on him by the “law.” And I’m sure he was ridiculed, probably lost friends and maybe even some of his standing as a Jewish man in Nazareth.

In so many ways, the ultimate in unplanned pregnancies is set before us as a beautiful example of how we should fight for and protect all unplanned pregnancies. We should be righteous people of God like Joseph was and be willing to accept the criticism and inconvenience of moving against the tide of our culture.

Ignorant No More

We cannot ignore this issue any more. More than likely, each one of us has been touched in one way or another by the issue of abortion. The blood of millions of babies are crying out to us from the ground, and what are we doing about it?

If you’re like me, for the longest time, I simply ignored it. I wasn’t the one working in the clinic killing these babies. I wasn’t convincing women this was their right. I wasn’t involved in an unplanned pregnancy of my own or my friends’. So I wasn’t guilty (or so I thought.) Yet, as I watched the movie last night, God convicted my heart that I am guilty – very guilty. My silence, my ignorance, my lack of prayer is an overarching acceptance of the way things are in our country. I am held responsible for the massive slaughter of infants in our country. And I am sure that if I stay silent, I will be held responsible in part when I stand before God in heaven one day – as will you!

What Can We Do?

So where do we go from here? How do we begin to go against the tide of our culture? How do we rise and fight with all that is in us against this horror?
  1. Educate ourselves – see the movie Unplanned. Theaters and Showtimes Not only does this movie open our eyes to the truth behind the abortion industry, but it also shows the power of prayer, love, and grace. Each time we buy a movie ticket to a show like this, we are telling the theaters that we want this and movies like this playing in our community. If you’ve seen it already, take a friend that might be impacted as well!
  2. PRAY! Nothing moves the heart of God like His people on their knees. Check out 40 Days for Life if you’re interested in something organized or make a commitment on your own or with a group of friends to spend a certain number of days crying out to God on behalf of the unborn babies who are at risk in our country.
  3. Find your local pregnancy care centers. Donate money or time to come along side of them. They are feet on the ground caring for women with unplanned pregnancies. These centers need our financial support, our prayer support, volunteers, donations of goods and so much more.
  4. Don’t condemn a friend who has had an abortion. Help her to find the help that she needs. Post abortive syndrome is real, its hard, its ugly. She doesn’t need more guilt. She needs our love poured out in abundant mercy. If you've had an abortion, God's grace is enough! You are greatly loved! Also, if you know someone involved in the abortion industry, love on them, pray for them and if they want out, refer them to and then there were none.
  5. Learn how to defend your position on being pro-life without initiating religious debate Here’s my 60 second spill:

    "The American College of Pediatricians (physician journal backed by scientific evidence) issued an article in 2014 stating that life begins at conception. Our Declaration of Independence states that all men [persons – members of the species homo sapiens] are created equal and as such are entitled to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. As a conscience bearing adult, that means that I have a responsibility to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves, whether the unborn, the elderly, or the incapacitated. Their lives matter!" (outside of my personal religious convictions, this is my statement on being pro-life.)
  6. Be a Joseph to a friend in dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. Walk in grace. Support her. Help her to find the resources she needs whether it is finances, lodging, an adoption agency or simply a listening ear. Assure her she is not alone and that God’s grace is enough even now. Mary did it, Jesus was born and changed the course of history!

I challenge you as I challenge myself – don’t remain silent any longer! Our prayers, our love, and showing the grace of our merciful God can enact change if we are willing to take stand for the truth!

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