“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance” Romans 5:3 (NLT).
They sent me to a little room, started the video and closed the door. A man appeared on the television screen, wearing a suit. He stood in an operating room and beside him was a metal table with various instruments laid out on it. Among them were large scissor-like tools, a huge needle and various others – all resembling what you’d expect if you were going to repair a barbed-wire fence. These tools were not going to be used to repair any fence, however. These were tools used to assist surgeons in performing a surgical abortion.
Within seconds of the video playing, I jumped up off the couch and began to yell for someone to come in and “turn it off!” I didn’t want to see another minute of it. When the young woman ran into the room, I proceeded to tell her that I didn’t need to watch anymore – that I knew I wasn’t going to have an abortion.
In First Corinthians chapters 15 through 16, the Apostle Paul teaches about the resurrection of Christ and of the dead, and how the people of Jerusalem were to give to the Church and prepare for his departure. Reading on, in Second Corinthians chapters 1 through 3, Paul addresses several other key principles of faith. The principle of God being a comfort to us all, is one of these key principles that it so important for us to reflect on.
The chapter begins in 2 Corinthians 1:1 where Paul addresses God’s church in Corinth. This was Paul’s fourth letter to the Corinthians. The people were not taking Paul’s instructions to heart and there were lots of divisions occurring within the church. Paul doesn’t waste any time letting the people know that God deserves our praise for the mercy he gives us, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort” 2 Corinthians 1:3 (NLT).
Paul continues in this chapter explaining that God comforts us, so that we will comfort others. He explains that it is through our trials that we receive God’s comfort. Paul says, “Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer” 2 Corinthians 1:6 (NLT). Here, Paul is saying that he endures his own suffering by encouraging others through the Gospel.
What an example of perseverance! Paul understood that God was using him to further His kingdom. His teachings in this chapter directly reflect what Christ did on the cross for us. Jesus suffered for us all, so that we can experience eternal life. In order to draw closer to Christ – we must also suffer. Paul acknowledges the fact that he was both “crushed and overwhelmed” by his own suffering and that he “expected to die” (see 2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
The way Paul copes with his suffering is not by relying on himself, but relying on God (see 2 Corinthians 1: 8:9). He goes on to say in this same verse, “We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us” 2 Corinthians 1:9b (NLT).
Even though I knew pretty quickly that I did not wish to terminate my pregnancy, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t tempted by the thought of doing so. I had so many terrifying fears – wondering whether I would be able to handle the pain of giving birth, wondering whether my baby would be healthy, wondering whether I would have complications, wondering whether I was ready to be mother. The thought that it could all go away by enduring one surgical procedure was tempting. However, there was this horrible feeling that gnawed at the pit of my stomach every time I envisioned me actually going through with that procedure.
At that time, I did not have the relationship with God that I do today. However, I remember asking God for help many times. Now that I know God and understand how much He loves me, I truly believe God spoke to me at that very turbulent time in my life. I believe that He was with me through every step, giving me the strength I needed to endure the pregnancy and birth of my daughter.
There were many people whom I encountered during those 9 months that were so sensitive and encouraging – that kept telling me I was strong and brave. God was working through those people. They encouraged me through my trial and in turn I was strengthened.
My baby was born on February 18, 1992. I remember her body all covered in pink as they pulled her out of mine – screaming and a healthy 8 pounds even. I remember my Mother crying and thanking God in that delivery room. I also remember feeling terrified, relieved and exhausted all at the same time.
The road hasn’t been easy since the day she was born. My days were often full of stress and anxiety, loneliness and isolation, struggle and the fear of making ends meet. Yet, during all of it we were taken care of. My parents supported me by helping me take care of my daughter, so I could work and finish school. All the people I encountered that helped me get through College enabled me to earn my degree. Because of my endurance and the support of others, I was able to pay my rent, my bills and provide for my child’s needs.
Had I chosen not to endure, I wouldn’t have been able to receive the many blessings I have from the privilege of being her mother. My experience is something I will always look at as a way of drawing me closer to God and His way of drawing me closer to Him.
Heavenly Father, I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to You for blessing me with the gift of becoming a mother. Thank You for reminding us through Paul’s teaching that our struggles give us the opportunity to draw nearer to You. Please bless all of the women who face unplanned pregnancies. May they feel the power of Your Spirit guiding them to a place where they can endure through the struggle. Also, dear Lord, please bless the women who have made the choice to endure an abortion. Help them find redemption and forgiveness through You and may Your grace help ease their pain and suffering. For it is only through You that we can receive the peace and comfort we seek. In Your Son’s Most Precious Name, Amen.