Brothers and Sisters,
Today’s devotional is a bit heavier. It’s also one where I mean to communicate carefully, but clearly, as best I can. Also, I should note, my thoughts here are not wholly original. I listened to a podcast episode this morning produced by a wonderful servant of the Lord that set my mind thinking in this direction. So here goes:
The world is in crisis mode. Schools are shut down…hospitals are working overtime to save lives…businesses are facing ruin…and the abortion clinics, well they’re still functioning. They’re still open for “business.” That includes the Planned Parenthood Clinic located in downtown Santa Cruz. If you look at its website, the Santa Cruz office of Planned Parenthood will tell you how to access their facility while maintaining the necessary COVID-19 precautions.
The horrible, wicked irony of this situation is nothing short of breathtaking. We’re laboring long and hard as a society – and rightly so – to fight an unseen virus. Our singular goal is to prevent more death in a global pandemic that has thus far killed approximately 30,000 people. Meanwhile, at least in California entities central to what one commentator calls our “culture of death” continue to function. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute cites that in 2017 there were 808 clinics across the United States providing “abortion services.” These 808 clinics contributed to the deaths of 862,320 unborn children in that same year alone. That’s nearly 30x the number of fatalities thus far from coronavirus.
Now, advocates of Planned Parenthood will tell you that abortions represent only one part of the total “health services” provided by the organization. In fact, our local Planned Parenthood location does not call itself an abortion clinic. It is a “Health Center,” according to the Planned Parenthood Santa Cruz website. Be the statistics what they may, Planned Parenthood’s self-description is both misleading and euphemistic. Planned Parenthood, at its core, is an organization built on the practice of abortion. Consider this January 2019 statement on Twitter from the then President of Planned Parenthood, Leana Wen: “First, our core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight – it’s a fundamental human right and women’s lives are at stake.” This sort of commitment helps to explain why, by its own count in the organization’s 2018-2019 annual report, Planned Parenthood conducted 345,672 abortion procedures. That’s 10x more human lives lost than those fallen thus far to COVID-19.
On Sunday I preached a sermon titled, “The Great Coronavirus Plague of 2020.” I believe it is both right and good to liken coronavirus to the plagues we read about in Scripture. Having done so, we then need to consider God’s good purposes in plagues, and our response to his work – his work to judge, to discipline, to demonstrate, and to give opportunity (Note: May I suggest listening to the sermon, available at the Felton Bible Church webpage). My purpose was not to highlight abortion and then identify COVID-19 as God’s judgment on this particular sin, this particular wickedness. But, insomuch as judging sin is one of God’s purposes in a day of plague, I did specifically identify the slaughter of unborn children as one evil God means to address in this moment of societal crisis. Is it logical to assume that God will indefinitely remain silent, even in a temporal sense, in the face of a society that annually kills 800,000+ unborn children? God did not remain silent at such wickedness in the Canaanite nations he judged through Israel. He did not remain silent at such wickedness in Israel itself. Why should we assume our day will be different? Right at the end of the sermon I said, in effect, the following:
“As we labor to kill our own sin in the face of a plague, may we also let God use us to actively oppose Satan; to expose his schemes, and to love our neighbor by calling our world to account. 1 John 3:8 [ESV] says that, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of devil,” and we [meaning believers in Jesus Christ, Christians] are people of the Son of God. Would we dare to carefully and judiciously assert that there is a link between the Great Coronavirus Plague of 2020 and the sin our community so easily imbibes, the schemes of Satan we accept? – The slaughter of unborn children…the injustice of racism…the abuse of sexuality…the distortion of gender…the condoning of greed…the denial of families…and the list could go on.”
It’s important to note that I made mention of such societal sins only after addressing the sin we must wrestle with first in our own hearts.
How is it that God would have us expose the schemes of Satan in this day of plague? Here again, let me encourage you to listen to the sermon. Our first call as Christians in a day of plague is to become messengers who proclaim today as the day of God’s salvation; messengers of reconciliation who act according to God’s Word in order to reconcile God and those he means to save.
So, while coronavirus rages and people die, we meet the moment with a message of Gospel hope. The workers at Planned Parenthood Santa Cruz do not need my animosity or shrill note of judgment in the midst of this plague (or any other time for that matter). Rather, they need from me, and from all those who follow Jesus, a clear testimony of God’s grace in the face of sin. They need a clear word that abortion is wicked, and that God has judged, is judging, and will judge wickedness, even through plagues. They need to know that because of the cross, they need not remain in wickedness; they need not suffer God’s judgment. Freedom, and hope, and forgiveness, and reconciliation, and cleanliness await. Such is Jesus’ call while the plague rages on. May we have ears to hear.
(Note: To be clear, I consider “abortion” the unjustified killing of an unborn child at any point after conception. I do not include in the term pregnancy-ending medical efforts undertaken to save the life of a mother. In such scenarios the purpose is to save life, not end it.)