Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 2 of “Fan or Follower – Value Life” (LISTEN HERE).
Decide before hand.
As I write this, Hurricane Ian is making its way toward Florida with intensity of a strong Category 4 hurricane. This is truly a dangerous storm and one that will exhibit the power of God and I pray also the mercy of God.
As the hurricane approached this week, news outlets had images of people lines up to get water, empty shelves of toilet paper, and generators gone. People were trying to prepare and searching for the supplies to do it. Evacuations have been issued and looking at projected flooding from the storm surge, evacuating certain areas was wise.
All of this to protect life.
Property can be replaced, lives can’t.
As Florida faces a strong hurricane, those that decided before this week to do what was necessary to protect their property and lives are much better off. They didn’t have to wait in long lines, they have ample supplies and their house has storm shutters ready to be deployed.
When emergency happens, we react. But if we can decide how we will react and prepare to react that way, life in an emergency is more manageable and calm.
Playing on Team Life as a follower of Jesus takes pre-deciding how we will handle certain circumstances. It means deciding before hand how we will engage with our life and the lives of others. The decisions can be difficult, but better to make them before you have to so when you find yourself in a challenging circumstance, you default to the decision you already made.
So what’s the decision as a player on Team Life? Protect life. Period.
Because we see the intrinsic value of life, we will decide in favor of protecting life.
- We are willing to give up our life for someone else.
1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
How does this play out? Jesus invites me to consider the life of someone else more valuable than my own. So, I decide that if a threat arises to my family or congregation and I am in position to save another person’s life, I am willing to risk my own to save theirs.
2. We do what we can to protect the life of the unborn.
Protecting the life of the unborn is a challenge in our culture where many are fighting for the right to end life in the womb, rename an unborn baby as “tissue,” or denying the reality of the heartbeat heard on sonograms.. Crazy things are being said to ignore the plain facts that a mother is carrying a new life in her womb, not just random tissue of her own body. God designed the womb of a woman to be the perfect place for his knitting project:
Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be
There is no question from the truths of the Scripture and for that matter biology that life begins at conception. A follower of Jesus carries this perspective. The only choice is whether one allows that life to take its course under God’s protection and plan or intervene as a human to take the life of another human being. So, to be blunt, the choice of a woman is to protect the life God is forming or to terminate that life. I know the discussion is complicated, but the decision is simple. A new life begins at conception and has intrinsic, unique and individual value, worth and significance before the Lord. Therefore, life must be protected.
If I may present one more very challenging side of this. When a follower of Jesus decides that life in the womb is indeed life and worth protecting, we will protect life, no matter HOW that life came to be. Much discussion gets made of pregnancies caused by rape or incest and the right to terminate a life brought about by these horrendous sins. I struggle with this logic. The argument is made that if a woman who was raped carries the baby to birth, seeing the child continues to perpetuate the wound of sin that began the pregnancy every time the child is seen. So, the conclusion is that the pain of living with the child is too great and the life is worth terminating to avoid the lifetime of reliving the rape or incest.
Can I offer a different course of action to be considered by God’s people? What happens when I trust that life is a gift of God and is in his realm to allow or terminate? I must conclude that even though sin (rape, incest, sex outside of marriage, etc.) brought the life into existence, doesn’t automatically negate the fact that a life was created. What happens when I trust that God just might have allowed that life for a purpose in his eternal plan while that life engages on this earth? Think of the offspring of Bathsheba…raped by King David (2 Samuel 11-12). Think of Moab, the son of incest of Lot and his daughter (Genesis 19:36-38). Both of these relationships ended with a child being used in God’s plan of bringing Jesus into the world (Solomon & King David). God can use a child conceived in sin, to be a blessing to his kingdom. What happens if I view the perpetrator through the lens of grace and forgiveness (I may never trust or interact with them)? Do I see the child as a reminder of the horrible sin or see the child as God bringing some good out of a very horrible situation?
I invite your reflections. I pray for the strength to engage in these decisions if and when the situation arises. Life is worth protecting no matter who it is and how their life began.
Make the decision today to protect life.
Apply: What is one thing you can do today to value life and protect it?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for bringing me into this world. Strengthen me for the work and challenge to protect the lives you have created, knit together, and for which you determined purpose.