The Atonement Child
The church service this weekend at Southeast was intense. It is the 37th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade case, which legalized abortion. Since that time, over 50 million babies have been killed in the womb. It is tragic and devastating to think about. At the end of the service a person representing every age from 37 to a baby still in his/her mother's belly walked down the aisle with a rose to represent the over 1 million children that had been aborted that year. It was heartbreaking. It is a powerful sermon that you can listen to by following this link:
I know that there are women who live daily with the pain from choosing to abort their baby. I have heard stories about instant remorse, when right after a woman has had her baby brutally extracted from her, she sees or realizes it was fully formed, even if very tiny. My heart breaks for these women and their struggle. I want them to know and feel the loving redemption of Jesus Christ, realizing His forgiveness of this choice. And the loving comfort that can come from God alone, who is the great Healer. I am so thankful that our pastor at Southeast chose to speak so boldly about this topic, recognizing it as a Biblical issue, not a political issue. I am so glad he told the story of the woman called "Jane Roe" who once helped legalize abortion and now stands 100% against it, after seeing and realizing the brutality of this practice.
There are two books I have read about this topic that have emotionally rocked me each time I have read them. They are both fiction, one written about a woman's journey after having an abortion, and the other about a woman who walks the difficult road to choosing to give her baby life.
The first book is by Frank Peretti and is called Tilly. It is a story of a woman who has an intense dream that she meets the daughter she aborted in heaven, and the little girl just wants to be loved and held by her mom. She wants to know all about her family and what her brothers and sisters are like. She wants to know that her mommy loves her, and she wants her mommy to know that she is happy and that Jesus takes care of her. She says he tells the most wonderful stories. She tells her mom that Jesus says they will all be together again some day, and she can't wait. She tells her mommy that she forgives her.
The other book is The Atonement Child, written by Francine Rivers. I have read this book numerous times, and each time I cannot put it down. It is the story of a girl who has a "storybook" life, dating a nice Christian man, attending a good Christian college, and is brutally attacked walking back to the dorm from work one night. The result of this attack is a pregnancy, and pressure is put on her to leave school. Her boyfriend suggests abortion. The story walks through the turmoil she faces, the changes her relationships go through, as well as the fear and loneliness she feels. In the end, this girl searches hard after God, realizing He is searching hard after her, and chooses life for her baby. She soon realizes what a life giving choice this is, and how God will bless it. The book, however, ends with a different girl in a cold room in an abortion clinic, her boyfriend leaving the room and closing the door behind him. The last couple lines read, "When the door closed, death surrounded her. And into the silence and separation that followed could be heard the weeping of God's only begotten Son, the Atonement Child."
Tears are rolling down my face and I am sobbing as I write this. First because just imagining this scenario and the millions of women who have sat in that room and ended the life of a precious little child breaks my heart and brings me to my knees. I cry for each one of those sweet, innocent babies. I wish I could wrap my arms around each of those women before they ever step foot in that room and promise them that God can and will get them through what might seem like the most challenging scenario they could face by choosing life for their baby. My tears also represent intense sadness over that hard core depiction of God giving up His one and only son, allowing him to be brutally murdered so that you and I might have an atonement for our sins. So that we may be forgiven and free, promised eternal life.
Let me make one final plea to Christians. Although I cannot read the minds of those who have struggled with the choice or gone through with an abortion, I wonder if there is anything we could have done to help them choose life. I am not talking about protesting or educating. I am thinking more of showing grace. Often in our conservative Christian church cultures we make it horrendously difficult to struggle with sin. The irony is, if you are breathing, you struggle with sin. It is the result of a fallen world here on Earth. Yet we are afraid to hear about someone's deep struggle. Thus, he or she feels like there is nowhere they can turn for help. And the truth is, the church should be the safest place to find grace and healing for the sin someone might be struggling with. What if a young girl was struggling to stay sexually pure yet was completely terrified to share this struggle with anyone at church, for fear of condemnation? Wouldn't she find more strength and accountability to overcome this struggle if she was met with love and pointed to Jesus? What happens if she makes the wrong choice and becomes pregnant? What goes through her mind when she thinks about being pregnant and having everyone talk about her? Can you imagine the pressure she might feel to take another way out? Please, think about this in terms of the church where you worship. Is there anything you could do to make it a safe place for sinners, a.k.a. all of us, to come and be met with hope, healing, grace, and love? Please practice what you preach. Be Jesus to a broken world. Honor God's precious gift of His one and only atonement child.