This is going to be a somewhat depressing post. I'll just warn you up front. But I hope that it will also be a little encouraging.
Recently, a friend asked me to pray for a friend of a friend who had an abortion scheduled. I went on to ask some of my friends to also join in praying for the Lord to intervene in the situation and stop the abortion from taking place, for this woman's heart to be changed, for someone to step in and tell her she had other options, that she is loved and cared for and there is support.
Unfortunately, she went through with the abortion.
It's not uncommon for someone to ask me to pray for a similar situation or to ask for a recommendation of a crisis pregnancy center for a friend who is considering abortion. And sadly, it's not uncommon for women who are set on abortion, especially those who have already scheduled the abortion, to go through with their plan.
And it hurts.
If you're friends with the woman, or if you counseled the woman, it's easy to take the outcome personal. You ask yourself and God, "What could I have done differently? Why didn't she listen to me? What did I not say that I should have said?"
And honestly, the answer is that you couldn't have done anything differently to change the outcome. You are not responsible for the choices and decisions of others. Don't blame yourself.
This is a lesson I learned the hard way. I counseled at a crisis pregnancy center for many years. And while I had abortion-minded clients who changed their minds either during our appointment or who came back later to tell me that they had chosen life, there were women who left the center, determined to go on with their initial plan: abortion. And there were several more women who never came back, never answered our follow-up phone calls and we never knew.
But you can't take it personally. It's not your fault. And if you dwell on it and beat yourself up with those questions (that will never be answered, by the way), you're only going to discourage yourself further and potentially render yourself ineffective with future clients.
We must always remember that ultimately each person is responsible for his or her own actions. You said what you could say. You did what you could do. She made the decision. And sadly, she will have to carry the consequences of that decision for the rest of her life.
If you're removed from the situation, if you only knew enough to simply pray, you question God about it. You ask, "Why didn't You stop this? I prayed, I begged, I pleaded, and did You even hear me? How could you allow a mother to take the life of her own child?"
We have to remember that God is sovereign over all. And for all the times that a woman has gone through with her abortion, there are so many times that God did intervene; times that He did send someone to step in and give the woman hope; times that the Holy Spirit softened her heart to hear the truth, for the first time, in a counseling session at a pregnancy center. These things do happen. I have witnessed it with my own eyes.
But they don't always happen.
We won't ever fully understand why God allows bad things to happen. It's been a long debated theological discussion, that I prefer not to get into with this post. But the truth of the matter is that God makes those decisions. He controls it all. He is sovereign. Not us. Sometimes He allows babies' lives to be ended by their own mothers.
And it hurts.
And it should hurt.
But don't let that stop you from caring, from praying, from taking action. You never know when a baby will be saved. And we should work knowing that all babies can be saved. There is no need for a single life to be ended by abortion. Not one.
We only need to trust the Lord, stay the course and don't get discouraged. Take heart and remember, He is in control, not us. He has already overcome the world.
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33