Today was a heavy day. I feel beaten down in my spirit for no particular reason. It is not that today's spiritual battle was so highly unusual or uniquely intense. Intense, yes. Unique, yes in the sense that they all are. But today was nothing that should throw my spirit down in the "body slam" that it has. It was just another untypically typical day down at the abortion mill, standing on the sidewalk offering hope, love, and judgement (yes, God speaks of that, too) to the women, and fighting on behalf of those "being led away to slaughter". But I believe what made today different was the spiritual warfare that is happening on a broader scale now in our nation, due to the horrific case of Kermitt Gosnell. And Satan's attacks are ramping up. It is a sign that he is feeling the threat to his vile kingdom. I ask that all Christians keep the sidewalk counsellors/missionaries in their prayers! I have spoken to others who are feeling equally beaten down. And I have heard that the tactic that the mainstream news will take is to claim that pro-life missionaries ("protesters" as they like to call us) are what is driving these women into such "houses of horror". Can you imagine anything so absurd and illogical? But now that they feel the pressure to actually cover the story of this mass murderer, they must spin it in a way that does not disparage their sacred cow.
Sadly, we did not have any confirmed saves today at the mill, though some did witness a woman crying for over 30 minutes and then leaving with her assumed boyfriend, who waved as they left. Believing in faith that this was a save is a comfort to this worn-out heart of mine. And I was also thankful today for the lack of rain! It blew over and left us with a sunny, breezy morning. Perfect outdoor weather! I was also blessed to have a great team today, despite Lisa and her family being sick and unable to come. A sidewalk preacher, Jesse Boyd, and his daughter came, along with a Daniel and Courtney Parks (?) who are regulars on Saturdays. We also had a new face out, as well as several others I had not yet met. It was especially encouraging to have strong men there to speak truth boldly. Sometimes the boldness seemed to me to cross a line and there was a time of intense back and forth between one man on our team and Lazarus (the bouncer who desperately needs to "rise from the dead"), but I know we were all praying for God to work through even that situation and I truly believe He did. And I am learning that even when we judge actions, we still do not fully know a heart and we must always give the benefit of the doubt while seeking to learn from both the positive and the negative interactions. Love can be the motivation for the too-extreme actions of both mercy and justice. I later saw it in reverse as another sidewalk counsellor (a lady this time) was far too understanding with a man who was claiming not all murder by abortion is wrong. All of us should be working to find that balance between mercy and justice, as God is a God of both mercy and justice and we seek to emulate Him, as He commands us to. But in our culture we tend to excuse the love that leans too heavily on the side of mercy...perhaps because our love for God and hatred for sin is just not strong enough. We have a serious problem understanding...or even wanting to understand...the incomprehensible holiness and righteousness of God!
One way that God used those "moments of raw humanity" today was to pull a man named Shamari outside to discuss abortion with us, as he felt we were being too judgemental. Poor, deceived Shamari talked in circles, obviously struggling with the Truth and not wanting to allow his conscience (or us) to "win" the argument. He was polite and kind, but so, so blinded! Caryn and I talked with him and finally had to leave the Holy Spirit to deal with him. But when I asked him to read Matthew 25 about the final judgement, he actually agreed and it was the first time he allowed me to speak freely and didn't interrupt with "reasoning". I felt the Holy Spirit was dealing with him strongly in that moment, so pray that the work is completed in his heart and that he will not continue to harden himself to the plain, simple truth.
Caryn shared with me her own heartbreak of today...a couple there to abort their baby due to doctor's "orders". She prayed with them and pleaded on behalf of the baby, but the father was apathetic and they were already convinced of the decision. After counselling them fruitlessly, she had to turn away and weep. How much will God hold these doctors accountable who tell these trusting women that their lives are in danger if they do not kill their own child! I do not believe that the circumstances are even usually as dire as they claim. However, even in such a case, who are doctors to "play God" and decide that the mother's life is more important than her helpless child's? Do any of us have the knowledge of God to be able to see His plans (Jeremiah 29:11)? Is it up to us to take on His role and decide who lives and who dies?
Another atrocity was the car that pulled in with their "Jesus fish" and cross firmly affixed to their trunk. When their hypocrisy was pointed out, they responded with obscene gestures and cursing. Despicable! These are the religious hypocrites Jesus condemned (Matthew 23)! They go to church on Sunday and sing lies of false praise to the idol-god made in their own image and then pull in the parking lot the next week to murder their innocent child! Their prayers are an abomination (Proverbs 28:9)! But, sadly, they are the rotten fruit of pastors that preach an "easy" gospel...a false "pray this prayer and you've got your golden ticket to heaven" gospel, which is contrary to what Jesus taught (Matthew 16:24-25). Every time they speak the precious name of my Savior, Jesus, they use His name in vain and break the third commandment because of the wicked testimony of their lives. May they repent and accept God's radical grace before it is too late for them!
Sadder still was the lady who came into the mobile ultrasound RV and saw her tiny twins on the monitor, but was apparently unmoved. Her car was seen back in the parking lot a few minutes later and she proceeded with her scheduled murder. Seeing her own flesh and blood on that screen did nothing to change her heart. Or perhaps it was pressure from her grandmother, who was also present, as many young women are told they have no choice and are horribly pressured into this horrific decision. It is sometimes hard to know the whole story, but we see the choice of murder and we grieve for the baby who had no choice whatsoever in the matter!
We left with heavy hearts, heavier than what is normal for all of us. Even my children felt the extra weight of the battle today. Again, I ask that you keep all of the sidewalk missionaries in your prayers in a special way over the next few weeks. We are under spiritual attack, as I believe the Gosnell case is a powerful testimony against abortion and gives support to the work we are doing. I believe this case could be a major spark in lighting a fire in the hearts of Christians across the country to put an end to the atrocity of abortion! Pray for faith to believe this can happen and then follow God's command to "rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter" (Proverbs 24:11).