Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Model for Overcoming Adversity

The week before Christmas I will have held two brand new babies saved from abortion through the ministry of Cities4Life. After church today, I get to hold a new little baby girl. Yesterday, I held a two-day-old baby boy who survived some pretty rough obstacles.

The little guy in the photo above entered the world through one of the most difficult situations we have encountered. Abused mom, medical issues that threatened the mother's life as well as his own, heartless job discrimination that ended in the mom's illegal job termination, drug addicted felon dad, the mom's own mother battling cancer, no money, and no baby supplies.

When we counseled the mom, I had no idea what a long and difficult journey she would be on. All I knew was her heart convicted her that God would not have her destroy innocent human life, her own child, created in the image of God.

When we met her at the abortion center, she was determined to abort. In the end, she was so grateful we were there to urge her NOT to. Nonetheless, the horrific issues she faced should not be minimized. I had never dealt with the issues described above to the degree this brave woman endured. It didn't change the sacred value of her baby's life, but it presented a huge challenge to help her.

As each new catastrophe hit, she called me. I in turn called my cities4life friends, supporters, and fellow counselors and partner organizations. One by one, each issue was tackled and dealt with. Some issues are ongoing, and will be very difficult to solve. But one thing is crystal clear:

This child is loved, and has a purpose that he now has the potential to fulfill.

I have lived long enough to know that life is rarely easy, and often littered with struggle. Terrible things happen to the best of us, even when we do the best we can do and love God. It does not mean God has abandoned us, though it is a natural reaction to assume that is the case. For certain, there are times it feels that way!

One of the women I counseled not to abort just this week is in the midst of a terrible struggle. During this make-or-break time, I am in daily contact. I always send Bible verses. Last night she texted to tell me she was going to read her Bible, and could I recommend what to read that would help her in her situation.

I resisted the urge to say, "ALL of it!" I told her the Psalms are my favorite when I need to be comforted. Ruth is a great book about a woman in very difficult circumstances who overcomes. But the Gospels are the heart of God's message of hope. If we truly understand who Jesus is, who He claimed to be, and how He perfectly fulfilled every prophecy written about Him over thousands of years...then we can understand God's victory. Better yet, we can claim it for ourselves.

If ever there was a frightened, overwhelmed young woman in dire circumstances, it was Mary. Newly pregnant with baby Jesus, unmarried, young, poor, and forced to leave her home on the throes of childbirth. Once Jesus was born, she had to flee her land again under threat of her new baby being murdered by Herod. Imagine all the gossip, the terror, the questions, the despair, the loneliness, the discomfort, and the alienation the poor, unwed, young Mary felt.

How did she manage?

As I reread her story there are some simple truths in Mary's response to her difficult circumstances that we can all mirror.

* She trusted God. She didn't withhold her questions or fears, but she ultimately trusted He was who He claimed to be, and would do what He promised.
* She obeyed Him. She did not try to escape the circumstances through sin that would only further entangle her. She did not lie to make her encounter with God less believable. She simply obeyed, remaining true to the commands God  and her conscience placed before her.
* She took each step as required. The best way to manage any difficulty is to take each step as God dictates. She didn't need to know all the rocks, and mountains, and turns that her path would take her. She only needed to know what to do next, which God always outlined for her.

As I hold each baby born to the women helped by the Cities4Life sidewalk counselors, I always feel like crying. Each time as those tiny fingers grip my thumb, I remember how razor thin was the line that kept them from being killed. Yesterday, the nurse came in as I held the baby. She had to check his vital signs. She let me continue to cradle him in my arms as she listened to his heart.

"Good strong heartbeat," she said, smiling at the new mother.


Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


  1. Heartening, the work you do. The length your group goes to in helping Mamas make the God desired choice.

  2. Heartening, the work you do. The length your group goes to in helping Mamas make the God desired choice.