I just returned from the March for Life which takes place right in my own neighborhood and had the opportunity to ponder once again the mystery and dignity of Human life. I spent the last 20 minutes of the march interacting with the “pro-Choice” demonstrators on the steps of the Supreme Court and I gave them the “come to Jesus” talk. 🙂 More on that at the end. But for now, just a few thoughts on the mystery of our existence.
It is a true fact that from our point of view life begins at conception. That is when we can “measure” life’s existence and when we begin to interact with human life and must respect it. But, in a way I want to be more radical with you and say that life begins “before” conception. We are rather materialistic, mechanistic, and scientific at times and thus we miss the glorious fact that our lives cannot simply be assessed or measured in a test tube or “seen” with earthly eyes, or even measured by time.
Why do I say that life begins “before” conception and why do I use quotes around “before”? Well, first of all, the Scriptures attest to fact that God knew of us before he made us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”(Jer 1:4). And psalm 139 attests; “Every one of my days was written in your book before one of them ever came to be.” (Psalm 139:16). What this means pure and simple is that no human person is an accident or a surprise to God. No one, even those born under less than ideal circumstances, is inconvenient or unwanted by God. Every human person is sacred for they are willed by God, loved by God, created intentionally by God not as a whim but as part of a plan stretching back before the foundation of the world. Every human person (even my enemy) is God’s “yes” to the world.
When I say life begins “before” conception why do I put “before” in quotes? I do not mean to say that we existed in heaven or someplace else before we were conceived here. But what I mean is that there really is no “before” with God. God dwells outside time and transcends it. Past and future are equally present to God who lives in the fullness of time where everything is now, every thing, every age is present. For us, time unfolds in chronological sequence. For God everything just IS. God is not waiting for your tomorrow. your tomorrow has always been present to him. This is why God can say “Before I formed you I knew you.” This is why all our days are written in his book before they come to be for us.
Ah, the mystery of human life caught up in the mystery of God! We cannot grasp our dignity fully but only seem small facets of it. Too wonderful for us this knowledge, this mystery is too deep to express. As I saw thousands upon thousands at the march today I pondered that the mystery of their life is caught up in eternity and that God knows them each through and through, not a hair of their head was un-numbered. There too were the police guarding us and preserving good order. They too, known by God through and through, before they were ever formed in their mother’s womb.
I praise you Lord because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. …For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. .. your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Ps 139, selected verses).
And then I came to our opponents on the steps of the Supreme Court. They were small in number but with that distinctive blue and white sign: “Keep Abortion legal.” These too, I thouhgt are known and loved by God from before the foundation of the world. Sadly misled but loved.
And then it occurred to me that at the heart of their dignity was to hear the truth, the truth that would set them free. “Why not?” I thought. “Am I not here to influence, to change hearts? At least plant seeds?” One by one I went to each of them I could get to. I look them in the eye and appealed to their conscience. They were chanting “Ho, Ho! Hey, Hey! Roe v. Wade is Here to Stay!” I stood before each an looked in their eyes and said in a clear but low voice that they could hear: “But you know it’s wrong. Deep in your heart you know it is wrong. You know.” It was interesting. In years past I tried to debate the issue with them and all we did was argue. But this year the Lord said, “Speak only to their conscience.”
Some of the looks I got back were powerful. Some were troubled looks, some neutral, one gave me a knowing look as if I (no not I, the Lord) had connected. It was brief with each but powerful. I didn’t have to win. All I had to do was to respect their dignity to hear the truth and let God speak to their conscience. He made them to know the truth and I pray that even one of them really heard the Lord. It was a moment in time that was written in God’s book before it ever came to be. Your prayers will make it fruitful.