by Fara Avery
Our stories are all threads in a larger story, and you’ve heard a little about how God has woven those stories together, and how He works in ways we can’t begin to fathom. Would I have chosen to write these chapters of the story in this way? Never, not in a thousand lifetimes. Meredith is an amazing person, and even though she could at times make me want to bang my head against the nearest wall, she was hilarious, compassionate, beautiful from the inside, generous, free-spirited, and I would love to have seen what she might do for the kingdom of God with a little more time here on earth. I miss her so much that sometimes it hurts to breathe.
But there is another question. Would I change the storyline if I could? My answer has to be “No.” I would have switched places with her in an instant, but scripture says in the book of Job that I wasn’t there when the cornerstones of the earth were laid and the morning stars sang together. I don’t hold the oceans in my hand or tell the waves they can come this far and no farther. I can’t bind the chains of the Pleiades or loosen the cords of Orion or tell lightning where to strike. Just as the Potter doesn’t ask or need the opinion of the clay, God needs no editor. It is His story to author, not mine.
He does, however, give us some choices, and I choose to trust God, and to believe that His way, though often painful, is best. I choose to believe that He is sovereign, and good, to believe His word and His promises and His character. I choose to do the next thing He asks me to do – whether it is just to get out of bed in the morning, or to speak to you tonight – because Psalm 107:2 says “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story,” and I must tell the story. I choose to believe that one day everything sad will come untrue, and that all things will be restored, and that He will make all things new. And I choose to believe that Jesus is my only Hope.
There are no great stories without great battles. We have studied much scripture which talks about our part in a great war, and God is very clear about our need to be alert, sober-minded, and suited up for battle. One of the battles in our community is being fought in a little red brick building on the corner of Madison and Church streets, less than 5 miles from where we are sitting. The people who work in that building are the front line in this war, and WE are their reinforcements, their air cover, and their supply line. They cannot fight unless we help them, and we cannot fight any other battle if we do not help them fight for the least of these.
I call this ministry the front line for this reason: we are all created in the image of God and Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God has prepared good works for each of us to do. We all have a specific part to play in the kingdom and in the battle; we can’t play it if we don’t get to be born. The baby that doesn’t get that chance won’t make someone like me a mother for the first time, or sit in your kindergarten class, or college course, or church pew, or Bible study. He won’t get to play on your soccer team, or work at your favorite restaurant. She won’t get to be your child’s best friend, or her basketball teammate. Neither he nor she will be able to fulfill the role God designed them for, or do their part in the kingdom work, and that leaves a great void.
But God. God has given us a part in this battle, and working through your faithful obedience in the last year alone, saved 198 babies who will not be part of that void! He called 39 women to be His children from that little brick building, and also ministered to those wounded ones who once chose abortion and needed the healing only He could give.
Ephesians 2:12 says that Jesus was our Hope when we had no hope. We know that He is the only Hope for a terrified pregnant girl who may have no support, for grieving parents, for those who have lost jobs, for those in the grip of addiction, for the girl who chose abortion only to find out that she had believed a lie, and for the unborn who cannot speak for themselves. I said earlier that I have chosen to do the next thing that He asks me to do, and one of the things He has asked us to do is to Be The Hope. We are to be the hope for this community by pointing people to their only true Hope, and this is how:
- Pray for the strength of those who minister, for the protection of their hearts and minds, and that they will be careful to walk closely with God. Pray for those who come through their door, that they will find comfort, shelter, help, kindness, and Hope. Pray that their eyes will be opened to the truth, and that they will choose life – physical life for their child, and eternal life for themselves.
- GIVE MONTHLY. Make a place in your budget alongside your tithe, your power bill, your grocery bill, your car payment; $5, or $50, or $500 – it doesn’t matter to God. If you can whip out your checkbook and write a $50,000 check, that’s great, but consistent giving is what God most often uses to sustain His work, and this front line depends on a steady supply of resources so that they can play their crucial part in this battle. Please give as you are able.
Most of you are here because you already do these things. Thank you. You are the faithful servant who stewards his Master’s resources wisely. Some of you are the ones who give the widow’s mite, while others are the ones who give much because much has been entrusted to them. All of this is of great worth in the sight of God. Please know that what you are doing matters. Whether you volunteer an hour of your time every week, or pray for the emails and texts Becky sends out, or give a few dollars a month, or collect baby bottles full of change, you have done something that has eternal significance. “Let us NOT grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” “Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
If I could, I would bring in all of those 198 babies. Imagine, for a moment, all of them in this room – the smallest ones sleeping through everything, and the toddlers climbing up in your lap to get to your dessert. Real babies, not just numbers in a speech or statistics on a page, or even pictures on this beautiful poster. I couldn’t arrange that, but I can show you a different baby, one saved through the support of a clinic exactly like ABC. In Florida. In 1987. So she’s not a baby anymore, but is a mother herself, and our oldest daughter. Last June, God added another chapter to her story when we got a phone call from her birthmother; and in December Amelia got to meet her birth family – mother, brother, sister, grandparents, aunt & uncle, and cousins. I tell this part because I like happy endings, and also so that you can see that no matter how small you think your part may be, you are making a difference across generations, for eternity.
Jesus is our only Hope –please let’s be the hope by pointing people to Him.