Perhaps this isn’t great devotional material, but I can’t help but write a few words about the tragic situation in Pennsylvania with Dr. Gosnell, the abortion doctor who was convicted this week of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies.
Perhaps God brought this grisly story to light so that he could change the way that abortion is talked about in our country. Maybe he intends to wake some of us up so that we can see that lives—not cells, not fetuses, not mere choices—are at stake in this conversation. I’ve already read stories of people who have changed their minds about abortion, so we can praise God for that.
Maybe God wanted us to remember again that we live in a broken world, on a cursed earth, amidst fallen people, so that he might stir up in us again a longing to be where he created us to be. Maybe some of us who live tidy lives in the suburbs need to see the face of evil and look wistfully toward a world without violence and death.
Maybe he wanted us to think about abortion in a way that we haven’t before, or at least in a way that many of us haven’t. Instead of just wringing our hands and preaching against it, maybe we should remember again that everyone needs Jesus. That includes abortionists, the people who work in their clinics, and, of course, the expectant mothers who—maybe because they’re confused or they made a mistake or they just don’t understand what they’re doing—choose to have an abortion. Maybe God wanted us to ask, “What are we doing to help confused and broken people? What are we doing to change the cultural climate to help the people around us see that all life is precious?”
I’ve got a lot of questions. I’d like to know how somebody could do what Dr. Gosnell and some of his assistants did. I’d like to know how a country in which the majority of people call themselves Christians could think it’s acceptable to abort hundreds of thousands of its babies every year.
I suppose we don’t have those answers, and maybe we never will, but whenever we see sin in some kind of graphic form like this, it ought to remind us that sin isn’t just the big, headline-making, jaw-dropping things. It’s pervasive, and it hurts us all. Those of us gawking at Dr. Gosnell from a distance also struggle with sin, though maybe it’s of a more private, not-as-serious (so we say) variety.
Here are a few relevant verses to meditate on and pray over today:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and . . . He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1,4).