They were one of the biggest bands in Christian worship music at that time. I was standing in the largest church in my city, listening to them play. And it was awesome.
There I was, surrounded by thousands of other Christians, as the band played a jazzed-up version of “How Great Thou Art.” The words were the same, but this arrangement traded an organ and handbells for guitars and drums.
The setting was almost heavenly: an ornate sanctuary; flawless vocals; gifted musicians. With hands and voices raised, thousands of Christians joined together, singing the words, “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee…” In the middle of the chorus, I had a weird sense of déjà vu. I felt like I was reliving an experience that had already happened. Then I realized that I was.
Just that morning I had heard the same song. Except instead of beautiful vocals, the voices had been average at best. Instead of a large congregation, there were just three of us. And instead of a beautiful sanctuary, we were standing in front of two gates that led into an abortion clinic—just three average voices singing away.
There at the concert, I stopped singing and looked around. Thousands of Christians were raising their hands, yet not one of them had been out at the abortion clinic that day. In fact, with few exceptions none of them had ever been to an abortion clinic in their lives. Why?
My family of origin was a bit unusual. My dad was a seminary professor and church planter. My mom stayed at home and homeschooled the six of us kids. When I was about 8 or 9 my family, along with members from our church, started going out to the abortion clinic—first on Saturdays, then on Fridays. In the beginning, there were two abortion clinics in our town. After one of them closed, we switched locations.
I know the thought of going to an abortion clinic turns many people off—which is the reason why, out of the thousands of people at the concert I attended, only about a dozen had probably ever stood in front of one before. But a lot of this reticence to join in what many pro-lifers call “sidewalk counseling” is due to misconceptions.
As soon as I mentioned that I regularly went to an abortion clinic growing up, you probably made several assumptions. First, that we held signs of aborted babies. Second, that we yelled at the women going in. Third, that we were strange. But those three perceptions are not necessarily true of sidewalk counseling.
When my family and church go to the abortion clinic, we do four things. We pray both out loud and silently for the women entering the clinic. We sing hymns in front of the gates leading to the abortion clinic. We hold up signs that say, “We’re praying for you” and “We can help.” Finally, we talk to the women who are going in and say things like, “Let us help you love your baby” and “The baby inside of you has a heartbeat.”
What we do is simple, it’s Christlike—and we’re the only church in our area that regularly shows up to take a stand for the unborn children.
Where is the church when it comes to the issue of abortion? Have we started to believe that abortion is a settled issue, that we can’t change anything? If we have bought into the assumption that stopping the murder of more than 1 million unborn babies each year is futile, then we have started to believe Satan.
Christians can make a difference in preventing abortions from taking place.
Six years ago, “Jessica” was a self-described “frightened Christian girl” who thought abortion was her only option. She had already paid the deposit and was scheduled to return for the procedure in one week. As she walked out of the abortion clinic my dad noticed a blue bracelet on her wrist that said “Jehovah Jireh” (Hebrew for “the Lord will provide”). My dad pointed the bracelet out to her and told her that if she would trust God and choose life for her unborn child, He would provide.
She left the abortion clinic and didn’t come back. Today Isaac, the baby that she was carrying, is six. According to his mom, he “loves everything superhero, hates vegetables and loves chocolate-chip cookies.”
This election season, many different issues jockey for our attention—jobs, national debt, social security, healthcare, homosexual marriage, the military, education, and a myriad of other concerns. But as Christians we cannot forget about the people who are not issues. Isaac is not an issue; he is a six-year-old who loves superheroes and chocolate-chip cookies. He loves these things because he wasn’t aborted. He is a human being.
When you enter the voting booth, don’t ignore the many important issues at play in this election. But at the forefront of your mind keep the image of Isaac and the thousands of other children just like him who were saved from death. Think of the 1.2 million babies who will die this year because of abortion. Then cast your vote.
A native Mississippian, Elijah Friedeman is currently enjoying his sophomore year at Asbury University in Kentucky where he is majoring in communications and ancient languages. Elijah writes at faithmadeflesh.com. See a piece in the New York Times that features the Friedeman family—”Mississippi’s Only Abortion Clinic at Risk as Law Nears.”