Blessed 8th day of the 40 Days for Life, Spring 2016!
The sun was rising, at 7:40am with stunning colors as the parking lot began to fill with the approximately ten clinic workers vehicles and only one patient. I was pleading with the Lord to open hearts to receive at least the information I was offering today. It had seemed like so long since anyone had engaged enough to even take some material, like a month and a half. Most often I received a polite, “No thank you.”
I would respond with something like, “We will be out here if you need us. We care about what you are going through.” It was true.
A couple newly trained Sidewalk Advocates arrived to shadow on the sidewalk and pray. Then, another trained Advocate showed up to minister alongside me. This morning the sidewalk was never empty of silent prayer warriors who were on schedule to pray for 40 Days. While explaining the ropes to my new friend she observed that the parking lot was now quite full. “Unfortunately,” I informed her, “I believe many more will be coming. On a regular abortion day the parking lot gets so crowded that many patients have to park on side streets and walk.”
Sure enough, today would be a regular day at the clinic. As the morning went on our hearts broke with a young father’s. This was not his choice and there was nothing he could do to spare the life of his own child. Much of the morning I spent in praying that his partner would walk out the door and take this man’s tears and compassion for their child to heart. But it was not to be. I prayed that the “Good Father” would meet this other good father in his grief. On the sidewalk he found a tender listening ear, and a direction to healing through the hands of another able counselor. Young man, you are loved by Him.
At one point in the morning the cackle of a regular heckler came from a passing car window, “AHHHHH HAAAA! YOU WILL NEVER WIN!” He grinned out at me. This time I was particularly amused at his jab. (Hey, it was more kind spirited than his usual cursing.) I waved enthusiastically back with a grin. At the same time praying, “Lord, would you please silence the lie of the enemy today? Would you rescue just one from certain death? I am standing here asking for all of them, but please, just one? I know no matter what happens here today, you have already won on the cross.”
10:00am rolled around. The other advocates had recently left. I intended to leave at 9:30 but it had been so busy. I looked in awe at the back of my sign where I keep my material. Not only had my Advocate friend been able to give some of his own info away, my pile was almost completely gone! Never before had there been so much receptive interaction. This was a huge miracle! It was really time for me to head home. My husband had begun texting me to find out when I would be back.
I felt a ‘No, don’t go,’ in my spirit strongly enough to think that I wasn’t supposed to leave yet. ‘Well, when can I go if shouldn’t go now, Lord? Please tell me when.’
About twenty minutes after that a van pulled into the packed lot. The young woman responded to my inviting hand gesture with her own, motioning-wait a minute.
Into the clinic she went, and after a few minutes out she came. She pulled forward to end of the driveway next to me. Her window was rolled down and she listened to my few words, “Would you be interested in taking this material? I’m not sure why you came, but I would love to help you in any way possible.” She tells me she really doesn’t know what she wants. “You haven’t made up your mind have you? Would you be interested in a free ultrasound? I can call the pregnancy center right now and help you schedule one if you want me to.”
“Yes. I would like that.” Her tense face relaxed with hope.
I invited her to meet me for more conversation on the nearest side street and out of the clinic driveway. There I learned that in the process of deciding what to do the week before, she had tried to set up an ultrasound, but the “pregnancy” clinic she called was going to charge her $100. They wouldn’t even take insurance. (HMMMMM, not the pregnancy center I know!) Discouraged, she had come to pick up her 24 hour consent for abortion.
On the phone with the pregnancy center I hear the good news that she can head straight over for a free ultrasound appointment! They will provide immediate care to this dear woman and her unborn child. Through tears of joy I told her how the Lord held me back from leaving at 10:00 when I usually leave by 9:30. He had a good plan for her and this precious baby he gave her. She was not alone in this choice for life!
Her nods and smiles assured me that she truly believed this.
I can’t describe the feeling of knowing that she was on her way to see this little one for the first time. It was utter joy. In almost six months I had witnessed only one other “save” while one the sidewalk. There had been more than that during the past six months. I wasn’t present for them, yet I rejoiced all the same.
But here, today, I was able to taste firsthand the harvest of LIFE, to be the one to deliver the message in the Good Father’s vineyard where so many have labored in prayer, in giving, and in serving. Be glad with me sowers. Rejoice with me fellow reapers! He is the Good Father. He is the one who leaves the 99 in the fold to seek out the one wounded sheep to tenderly draw them close to his heart. “You’re holding us close, holding us close, holding us tenderly.”
John 4:34-38 NIV
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” (Emphasis added)