At this particular time in my life I am tired, very tired. My family has had minor illnesses all through the winter. My children present me with physical and emotional demands ranging from toddler needs, to those of a self-aware pre-adolescent needing to discuss his varying emotions and desires. I have spent many hours, days, weeks of my past speaking about, organizing to counter, and praying about abortion.
Right now, as responsibilities seem to be increasing on so many fronts, and becoming more intense with the years, I am bitterly tempted to ignore the whole topic of abortion … I believe this is called abortion burnout! … “Battle fatigue” plus normal adult demands combine to make the prospect of continuing abortion involvement almost unbearable.
How often I have wished, as I read through the ‘Little House’ series with my children, that I had been born with a hundred years earlier, and could concentrate on just planting and enjoying ‘my vine and olive tree’ without twentieth-century horrors gathered about me. I am weak! I am so easily overwhelmed by the multitudes of emotions, and tensions this particular battle brings without fail to those arrayed against it. I am, indeed, at times just a hairsbreadth from quitting it altogether. There are so many satisfactory reasons to do so. Perhaps my emotional strength is such that I should not be in any battle lines. Is a demanding commitment fair to my family? Perhaps there are others who might do the jobs. I attempt in a more capable fashion. Maybe there are non-abortion-related tasks I could attend to with greater success.
As I find myself in a welter of emotional and conflicting desires, it is helpful to give myself as much of a reprieve from heavy responsibilities as is possible. I throw myself with vigour into routine demands and, alongside, read the Bible and discuss my concerns with God, and others. Invariably I come back, in time, to a clear recognition of the concerns which have burdened me for so many years.
An important battle
First, this battle is so very important. We are told in Scripture that all human beings are caught up in, and indeed are the battlefield of, a struggle which is spiritual and cosmic in scope and consequence. We are either children of God, through faith in Christ, alone (and so are aligned with Him), or children of the world, the devil. As the devil, the ‘prince of this world,’ the one Jesus called ‘a liar from the beginning,’ seeks to work his will – through the lies of abortion ‘promises’ – into society, it is of utmost importance that those who are God’s people oppose and expose this evil. While immediately aimed at those made in His image, (and so of immeasurable value) ultimately it is defiance and hatred of God Himself. To those who worship and praise God, this is abominable.
Secondly, the thoughtful Christian involved in combating abortion quickly realizes that abortion is but one indication of something dark and ominous which is slowly creeping from the sub-stratum of society up into the light. While different people would construe this in differing fashions, I think it is commonly agreed this is a form of super-humanism which, if it continues to establish itself, bodes very poorly for the future of Christians, and for that which we hold dear. So, as I contemplate the sacrifices my family truly must make to accommodate my pro-life work, I remind myself that in a very real way I am working to ensure the future of my children.
Then, mind clarified, I come to the difficulty which I probably find hardest to deal with – the one I cited at the beginning of this article – that of fatigue, combined with more than a touch, sometimes, of vague self-pity and feelings of martyrdom. It is then that I have to remind myself, most forcibly, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, of Biblical themes that, really, I know very well.
God’s children are expected, indeed commanded, to work hard on His behalf. Paul says in Ephesians:
Finally be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand
The demand id that the Christian fight, and moreover, time and time again, is to be found standing, ready for more.
The Biblical mandate is clear. As I consider it, I remember and am forced to trust the promises of God’s comfort and strength that are woven so closely together with the imperative to fight.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint.
Finally, as I seek to Christianize my thinking in order to combat not apathy, but entropy, I remember God’s promise to reward those who are His and, in His strength, have maintained faithfully the trust of the Gospel – in thought, word, and deed.
In conclusion, I can truly say that over and over again, after periods of discouragement, I find myself ready and even eager to continue to serve God in this key twentieth-century battle. Why He chooses to employ individuals such as me I don’t know, but what an honour that indeed He has, and that my service is of value to Him.
Barbara Challies is a board member of Campaign Life Toronto and a founder of Christian Action Council.