We often receive stories that get straight to the heart of what 40 Days for Life is all about. This one comes from Steve in Charlottesville, Virginia:
40 Days for Life is upon us and sometimes it’s hard to muster the courage and energy to confront the dark cloud of abortion that hangs over this nation. However, occasionally a ray of light shines through the darkness to remind us that God is still there and His love is triumphant.
When I moved to Charlottesville this summer I met a couple men who had been standing outside of Planned Parenthood for years. In fact, one of them had been standing for so long that he was starting to question his service.
He said to me, “It’s very rare that I get any positive feedback.” I told him that it was a small town, but I knew from my experience in Houston that lives were being changed simply by the presence of men and women outside of the abortion clinic praying and handing out literature.
No sooner had he crossed the street than a woman pulled up into the Planned Parenthood parking lot and started yelling at me. At first I thought she angry with me. But then she told me she wanted to tell me something. She pointed to the back seat of her car and said she had a grandson in a car seat that was alive because people were standing outside of the clinic — and she wanted to say thank you.
I ran across the street to the parking lot where my friend was parked to tell him the good news. But God wasn’t done!
A week later a young woman pulled off the side of the road to tell me that she, too, had changed her mind because people were standing outside of the clinic.
This woman later sent Steve a note. Here’s what she said:
I’m not sure why I was so inclined to stop and speak to you but remember feeling like I needed to tell someone my story, someone who changed my thought process when I was trying to decide whether or not I should carry my child to term.
I cannot thank you and others like you enough for standing up for what you believe in, because had it not been for you all I may have made a horrible decision and terminated my pregnancy. My girl is my entire world, and everything I do now is so that I can create a better life for her.
Please, do not stop doing what you are doing. I know it may seem like your messages are falling on deaf eyes and blind eyes, but I can assure you that me and my daughter are proof of the power that you all have.
“So when your feet start to hurt and your back begins to ache,” said Steve, “just remember this baby is alive today because a group of people overcame their fears, anxieties, and personal plans to help others.”
I’m in Reno, Nevada today … heading for California on Monday, with stops in Sacramento, Vallejo, Santa Rosa and Napa. Yes, that WILL be a busy day! But I’m truly blessed to witness God use this effort coast-to-coast.
Here’s today’s devotional from Rev. Ben Sheldon, president emeritus of Presbyterians Pro-Life…
DAY 5 INTENTION
May the truth of the final judgment shape our thoughts, priorities, and choices here on earth.
The King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”
– Matthew 25:31-46
REFLECTION by Rev. Ben Sheldon
Caring for others is not optional.
Jesus’ picture of the final judgment concludes with this sobering word: the wicked, who failed to care for others in their various needs (e.g., the hungry, the thirsty, the aliens, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous who did seek to meet those needs will end up with him, enjoying eternal life.
We know that this was no parable! Jesus has given us fair warning! Everything in God’s Word points to the truth that compassionate concern and practical care for all people, especially for the poor, the destitute, the weak and needy is required of us, if indeed we hope to escape the punishment of the fire of hell.
And who are the poor and needy, if not helpless, unborn babies, as well as the aged and infirm at the other end of life? Surely the “least of these” embraces not only those at both ends of the continuum of life, but all others in between.
Just how we, as Christ’s true followers, respond to his admonition “inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me” will determine whether we enjoy eternal bliss in his presence or the bleak and dreadful reality of eternal punishment in hell. Nothing in God’s Word could be clearer!
Gracious and merciful Father, we gladly embrace your Word that counsels us to care for the least of your children, and we renew our dedication to defending the unborn and all whose right to life is compromised by our godless society’s selfish lack of concern. Free us from our own failures and sins so that we will be truly pro-life in every area of our lives. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:
Have a blessed Sunday!
40 Days for Life
PS: On my visit to Wisconsin last week, I was interviewed by Drew Mariani of the Relevant Radio network. Drew is a great supporter of 40 Days for Life and we really appreciate him!
Listen to this interview online (click arrow to start):
Download MP3 (right-click to save file to your computer):