Guest Post: Don’t Turn Away

I’m really excited that my good friend Amy agreed to be my guest today on Church Letters!

Amy authors my favorite blog, The Monday Heretic. She models well how to honor God by the way she interacts with people and life. Without further adieu…

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When I was in high school, a classmate told me about his mom’s doctoral thesis. “It’s on the history of genocide,” he explained. “She walks around the house crying most of the time these days.”

I stared at him, instantly deciding this was the worst in-depth topic ever. “Why on earth did she decide to study genocide?”

And my classmate looked at me, shrugged, and said, “Someone has to.”

I still think about that statement, especially these days, when it seems like all news is bad news and there is so much ugliness in the world, in my social media feed, even in my own heart.

I can’t help but ask myself: why should Christians speak out about difficult issues, give when they might never see the results, and stay engaged in relationships that are messy?

Because someone has to.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to be the ones who don’t turn away from the hard stuff.

Now, right away, I want to say what I don’t mean. If you want to stay away from controversial subjects on Facebook, that’s totally fine. In fact, that takes wisdom and discretion that I wish more people had.

And I don’t think life should be a dungeon of doom. I remain convinced that Jesus and the disciples would be the best people to invite over for a game night (even if Peter would be way too competitive). Laughter and fun and happiness are all gifts from God to be enjoyed.

I’m not even talking about the need to rest. After all, even Jesus took time to withdraw from the chaos. (Although when he did, he spent time in prayer, engaging instead of retreating.)

What I’m talking about is isolating yourself from anything hard. Choosing the safe option. Saying “I’ll pray for you” to avoid acting (and sometimes forgetting even to do that). Turning away from something that’s uncomfortable to hear. Avoiding the most difficult people in your life. Assuming “that’s just not my gift.” Never asking God to challenge or change you.

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The Giver by Lois Lowry has something to say about this. Even when I first read the book as a sixth grader, I was fascinated by the Giver. He had to take on the sorrow and suffering of the world and keep it locked inside him. It was his duty to pass on wisdom from what he knew—and what he knew was sometimes beautiful and sometimes horrible, but you couldn’t have one without the other.

Christians need to be the Givers for our society. We need to be the ones who bear the memories of evil in the world. We need to object when people say that humans are basically good because we know where that path leads. We need to be moved by the suffering of strangers enough to do something about it. We need to be the first ones in line for hard times and hard people.

This is a way of imitating Jesus—intentionally taking on suffering and sin that is not our own. Not by joining a rant on Facebook, not by writing an occasional check, not by crossing items off a checklist, but by learning, listening, caring.

Maybe for you it means getting involved in a cause—fighting racism or sex trafficking or poverty by giving of your time and money or just by learning as much as you can and educating others. It could be identifying a family member who needs encouragement, researching a tricky issue so you can have an informed opinion, or seeking out the person at church who others avoid.

I can’t tell you exactly what being a Giver looks like, because it’s going to be different for everyone. It’s my friend Adam who tweets out calls to pray for the persecuted church, my roommate Abbie who will put off studying for her nursing final to give words of wisdom and comfort to anyone who needs them, my sister Erika who prays relentlessly for her most troubled students and is determined to make them realize by the time they leave her classroom that someone cares about them.

That’s what real, brave love looks like.

We love because someone has to. We love because the Holy Spirit within us gives us the unique ability to bear others’ burdens without breaking, to empty ourselves and then be filled again, to give what we’ve been given. We love because he first loved us.

But sometimes we don’t. Sometimes I don’t. And do you know why?

Because I’m worried I won’t have enough. Enough time, enough money, enough emotional energy. But God says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Because I’m selfish. When given the choice, I’d put my happiness, comfort, and safety first every time. But God says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Because I’m afraid. Afraid that if I ask God where he wants me to get involved, it might be uncomfortable. Afraid that I’ll fail. Afraid, somewhere deep inside of me, that if I do these hard things and invest in others, no one will take care of me, not even God.

But God says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” And I want to trust him and his promises over my fears and faults and faithlessness—and then obey.

Whenever you’re not sure what being a Giver looks like, come to Jesus and ask, “Who is my neighbor?” He’s always willing to answer that question and will usually emphasize an issue, a person, a group of people, or a ministry, something that keeps coming up in your mind and heart. Go after that need. Learn more, get involved, make it a regular part of your prayer time, talk to others, give even when it hurts.

Let’s refuse to turn away and choose radical love instead, because that’s what Jesus did for us.

The Only Power We Need: Lessons From Democrats and the Messiah

Dear Church,

Let me tell you a story. It is early in 2013, and I am sitting in my elective business class at the University of Northwestern. The discussion somehow turns to politics, and it is escalating. One of my believing classmates begins berating liberals for one reason or another and snickers, “That’s why we didn’t vote for Barack Obama, am I right?” Another of my believing classmates promptly replies, “Actually, I voted for Barack Obama.”

Awkward silence.

Rewind. I had just watched one of the last debates between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama before the 2012 Presidential election. I am debriefing with a friend, and while discussing one of Obama’s proposed policies, I comment that it seems unwise. I figure my statement will meet unequivocal affirmation, but instead, again: “Actually, I’m going to vote for Barack Obama.”

Paradigm shifted.

As I have grown up, the evangelical culture has strongly implied that Christians are Republicans, so college blew my mind because there, I met Christian Democrats. That a person could be both a Christian and a Democrat was suddenly a thought-category in my brain. I started to surmise that “Christian equals Republican” was a facet of my worldview that needed tweaking.

I have voted conservatively in every election since I turned eighteen, largely because I agree with fiscal conservatism over liberal economic philosophies. That said, I have made friends who are Christian Democrats since college, and learned so much that flatly contradicts what I grew up believing. I’ve learned that Democrats care about people, even as I might challenge their ideas. I’ve learned that Democrats seek to engage real-world problems, even if I often disagree with the solutions they offer. I’ve learned that Democrats want to make life better for every American, even though I could argue that their efforts don’t always do just that.

Fast-forward to the year 2016. The Presidential race is impassioned. Both major political parties have stationed deeply-disliked candidates at their respective helms, and Americans are puzzling over what to do. Barack Obama is a terrible human being, conservatives say, and Hillary Clinton is an Obamabeast on steroids who wants to pulverize us, they say. Oh, and thank God that at least Donald Trump isn’t either of those people. Maybe he will surround himself with enough helpers who are not also morally reprehensible, who can right this ship with him, yes? Amidst this fog, I consider what Jesus has to say about American politics.

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We have traveled back in time to the Judaean desert just prior to Jesus’ earthly ministry. He is here, too, and he will soon be tempted by the devil three times. For his final attempt, Satan shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and promises that they will belong to him if he would do but one thing: worship Satan. Jesus will not. He did not come to earth seeking power, though the intense political atmosphere of the day seems to need a good shaking up.

In fact, the entire region is convinced that Jesus has come to overthrow the Roman empire, which explains the enthusiasm at the scene of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. After his arrival, though, Jesus flips the tables in Herod’s Temple and throws several merchants out into the courtyard, tells a handful of obscure parables to gathered crowds in the streets about his heavenly kingdom on earth, and swiftly loses popularity.

The story brings us to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is captured here by the secular government. Once back at the court, the Roman governor asks Jesus what he is charged with, and Jesus replies, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

The point?

The Messiah and his disciples could have forced good things to happen in those days, but Jesus had set his gaze toward advancing his kingdom on earth, and he understood that exercising his power selfishly would subvert that mission. Jesus was against coercing morality through politics because if that were possible, there would be no need for the cross, and the glory would belong to men, not to God.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why many Christians are troubled by President Trump’s rise to power.

Throughout the Obama’s tenure in the White House, I did not feel free among my fellow conservatives to affirm that even though I never voted for Barack and disagreed with so much of what he did in office, he and Michelle are kind and classy people. Hillary Clinton did not win my trust or my vote, but that’s because power can corrupt human beings, not because she’s a Democrat. And you know what? Power can corrupt President Trump, too. But yet, it is sometimes easier to pick a side and then pass judgment on the opposition – for me, anyway.

Oh, church, let us not set our hope in political victories won because of a President who does not honor our God. How tragic it would be if the name of Jesus was tarnished in the eyes of our neighbors because American Christianity has tied itself to a broken ideology! It is important to pray and hope for President Trump’s success, but we must bear in mind also that this world is not our true home. Christians have lost the culture war, but Jesus never told us to fight a culture war in the first place. He only said that although the world will hate us for his namesake, we still ought to show them love without fear. As we do that, the power of Jesus himself will be on display through his Holy Spirit at work within each one of us.

So, let us cling to our confession of Christ, resting in his victory on our behalf and living as though to him belongs the only power we need.

Yours,

Fellow Soldier

The Most Important Truth About New Year’s Resolutions

Dear Church,

We all have a tendency of not sticking with our new years resolutions like we first imagine we will. In fact, only around 8% of people follow through on their new years resolutions.

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I’m not going to tell you that making new years resolutions is a bad idea. In fact, the premise behind making new years resolutions is good; it’s important to identify areas in our lives in which we want to grow, and then endeavor to do so. With that said, what we need most in 2017 is not a reset of our diets or spending habits, but to feel more deeply loved by God at the end of this year than we do now. We need to be careful, church, that we don’t begin tying up our confidence in Christ with the success of our resolutions. I caution you because this is my own struggle every day.

I struggle with condemning my own heart that God has called clean in his sight. I so often guilt myself, and not necessarily even for sin issues. I feel I’m too weird. I need to lose weight. I wish I had different strengths. I don’t read my Bible and pray often enough. I’m not strong enough, or funny enough, or outgoing enough. I set my own standard for who I ought to be, and I feel I don’t measure up to that standard. I’m introspective to an unhealthy degree. So, I can get overwhelmed when the first of January rolls around each year, because it’s all too easy for me to dwell in my own places of failure from the past year, and not easy enough for me to see and believe that Jesus’ victory is mine.

But then I crack open my Bible. I read the verse in Isaiah 42 in which the prophet reminds me that Jesus will not break a bruised reed or quench a faintly-burning wick, and I’m reminded that he’s talking about me. I tend to believe that God will be happy with nothing less than perfection; that I’m constantly letting him down. But the love of God isn’t like a failsafe that only switches on in the event that we’ve reached our goals, friends. The love of God is constant, and it’s there for us independent of our accomplishments. That’s why you and I can rest easy this year, whether we reach all our goals or not.

I’m learning to see myself the way he sees me, and my resolution in 2017 is to see this more and more, by his grace. I am defined by my union with Christ. Not my job performance. Not my weight. Not my personality. Not my social abilities. Not how often or how long I read my Bible or pray.

Perhaps you need a fresh perspective, too. Yes, you should work hard, and yes, you can resolve to make changes in your life. All the while, though, remember that at the end of this year, God is still going to love you as much as he loves Jesus whether you followed through on all your resolutions or not.

Yours,

Fellow Soldier

What We Learn When Celebrities Die

Dear Church,

Before I get to the main point of this letter, I’ll just say it: no, 2016 is not killing celebrities. That question, currently bouncing around the Internet, is a poetic, albeit dramatic way of asking whether more celebrities are dying this year than in others. It’s been spurred on most recently by the deaths of Carrie Fisher and George Michael, among others.

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Factually, 2016 is not actually killing more celebrities than normal. Now we can move on. I’m not mainly writing this letter to settle an Internet debate.

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I’m writing to remind you why celebrity deaths matter. Here are a few observations:

Celebrities are human beings. It may not seem like that needed to be said, but our culture seems to preach that you’re more of a person if you’re famous. If you’ve touched the whole world by your work. If you’ve made a name for yourself. The reality, though, is that celebrities are no different than you and me. Isaiah 40:6b-8 says, “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”  Beauty, accolades, power, and wealth are ultimately finite; these are not values that add to or detract from a human being’s worth.

That said…

Celebrities are human beings. Yes, I said it again. There’s another reason that matters: celebrities, all of them, are made in the image of God. Celebrities matter because God made them to be reflectors of his glory. In their artistic expression, in their intelligence, in their personalities; celebrities have value and worth, all of them. There is dignity in being human, and there is sadness in the death of human beings. There is beauty in being a person, like the beauty of flowers and grass. So, we honor celebrities and we mourn their deaths; not as though they are more worthy of honor than another person, but we do honor them, and we pray for the healing and well-being of their families in the same way that we would pray for the healing and well-being of any family who lost their loved one.

Lastly, we should learn something when celebrities die. It’s easier than you might think to join the rest of America in immortalizing celebrities because of their beauty, accolades, power, and wealth. Instead, when celebrities die, we ought to consider our own finiteness once again. We ought to remember that our accomplishments don’t make us more human, just as their accomplishments don’t make them more human, and neither do accomplishments make any of us immortal. Indeed, for those of us who have trusted Christ, our identity is rooted in something far more amazing than any of that: the perfection of Jesus himself, who died on our behalf and rose again, conquering sin and Satan and giving us the victory, too. The psalmist, David, captures the wonder of this in Psalm 8, when he says to God, When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

The point of celebrity deaths is that people are small and God is big. It’s all the more amazing, then, that he is mindful of you and me. Now we pray his favor upon Carrie Fisher and George Michael’s family, too.

Yours,

Fellow Soldier

When the Holidays Are Hard: Mourning and Longing With William Cowper

Dear Church,

I remember sitting in the pew at my grandma’s church a few springs ago, on Easter Sunday. Everyone around me was joyfully belting out that “Christ, the LORD, is risen today!”, but I wasn’t singing. I was fighting back tears. I was struggling to remember what I had to be thankful for, so I could focus on that instead of my ping-ponging emotions. I was wondering how it was that they were so happy, but I was so sad. I was battling guilt, because aren’t Christians supposed to be joyful on Easter Sunday? I’m on the other side of that hard time in my life today, but I’ll never forget it.


One of my favorite dead people understands what longing for elusive happiness is like. Do you have a favorite dead person? A hero of the faith of old? Maybe that sounds weird, but I’d say if you don’t, you should probably find one. One of my favorite dead heroes of the faith is William Cowper. He was born in 1731, the firstborn to an English reverend and his wife. Best known as a poet, letter-writer, and translator, Cowper went on to co-author a collection of hymns with John Newton, known today as the Olney Hymns. A formative aspect of William Cowper’s story was that he suffered from severe depression throughout his entire adult life, which caused him to be hospitalized at one point, and even led him to attempt suicide. We can learn much from the way Cowper walked through the trial of depression, because he was a Christian who never tried to hide that pain. Cowper penned many hymns and poems throughout his life, several of which related directly to his battle with depression. Here is an excerpt from a hymn he wrote called Mourning and Longing:

The Saviour hides his face!
My spirit thirsts to prove
Renew’d supplies of pard’ning grace,
And never-fading love.

The favor’d souls who know
What glories shine in him,
Pant for his presence, as the roe
Pants for the living stream!

What trifles teaze me now!
They swarm like summer flies,
They cleave to ev’ry thing I do,
And swim before my eyes.

How dull the sabbath day,
Without the sabbath’s Lord!
How toilsome then to sing and pray,
And wait upon the word!

Of all the truths I hear
How few delight my taste!
I glean a berry here and there,
But mourn the vintage past.

Maybe you can relate to that. Do you feel like the Holy Spirit is distant, as though he’s hiding his face from you? Is your spirit thirsty? Are you panting for God’s presence, but not finding him? Do you feel a heaviness that swarms around you like summer flies; that cleaves to you, and swims before your eyes? Are Sundays dull to you, and singing and praying toilsome? Do you find that too few truths delight your taste? Do you mourn the vintage past; longing after distant memories of a time when you didn’t feel this way?

There’s a general cheeriness in the air around the holidays, but I need you to hear that it’s okay if you’re not cheery right now. Sometimes, the holidays are hard. Perhaps you feel guilty because you think you’re supposed to just “grin and bear it,” but listen: that guilt does not come from God. Friend, you may not be clinically depressed like William Cowper, but maybe you’re in deep pain as you read this letter. I don’t know why you feel so heavy, or why God seems so distant. I don’t know what’s making songs and prayers fall dully from your lips, or stick dryly in your throat. I don’t know why you can’t rejoice in the truth. And I’m not going to judge you, because I’ve been there, too.

See, you don’t really need me to preach to you, do you? No, because you know what is true. What you need to hear right now is that it’s all right to be in pain, and it’s all right if you aren’t overflowing with joy. Immanuel, ‘God With Us,’ came down into darkness. He dwelt with broken people, and he loved them in their brokenness. More than that, we’re about to celebrate that Jesus wasn’t just ‘God With Them,’ but ‘God With You,’ and ‘God With Me.’ Jesus Christ is reaching out to you at this moment to remind you that he loves your broken self completely and unconditionally, and he is with you.

I left off the end of Mourning and Longing. It goes,

Yet let me (as I ought)
Still hope to be supply’d;
No pleasure else is worth a thought,
Nor shall I be deny’d.

Tho’ I am but a worm,
Unworthy of his care,
The Lord will my desire perform,
And grant me all my pray’r.

Brothers and sisters, the mourning of this life, for us, is tinged with hopeful longing whether or not we feel hopeful, because Jesus’ victory over sin and death and sickness and Satan is our victory, too.

Yet, for now, suffering saint, all you need to know is that whether you relate to William Cowper in his despair or his hope this holiday season, the love of God will be enough to meet you there and carry you to the other side.

Yours,

Fellow Soldier

Emerson, Bon Jovi and Me: The Want of Self-Reliance

Dear Church,

Jesus introduces his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5 with a series of statements called ‘the Beatitudes’ that tell us what characterizes someone who’s been born again; the first says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

In an essay entitled Self-Reliance, American poet, essayist, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson argues for the necessity of relying solely on oneself for truth and guidance. I’ve only time and space to highlight one quote from his essay; Emerson writes,

Discontent is the want of self-reliance.

Here, “want” is a synonym for “lack.” Emerson’s thought pervades American culture even now. Our society tells us we’ll only be content when we are our own masters. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a prominent figure in the transcendentalist movement, which centered around individualism and a rejection of dependence on a higher power. He believed Jesus was a great prophet who came to teach not about his own greatness, but that you and I are great. Emerson believed that humans are innately good, and thus rejected the idea that each person is totally depraved, needing a Savior. In his theology, each of us forms our own reality through our intuition and feelings. As Christians, we read that and shake our heads in dismay.

Deep inside, though, how badly do we actually wish that Emerson’s theology were reality?

American rock band Bon Jovi wrote a song called ‘It’s My Life,’ which gives a more modern voice to transcendentalism. The chorus says,

It’s my life
It’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just want to live while I’m alive
(It’s my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said,
I did it ‘My Way’
I just wanna live while I’m alive
It’s my life

According to Bon Jovi in this song, the want of self-reliance is bondage. I so often feel this. Do you? I want to be in control. I don’t want to submit myself to God, or to anyone. I buy the lie that life begins when I am free from authority. These lyrics are an anthem of our culture of individualism. In our sin, none of us want to admit how broken and needy we really are, do we? Because then we have to admit we need a Savior.

In the first Beatitude, Jesus breaks into our transcendentalism mindset with an earth-shattering, counter-cultural idea that those who are “poor in spirit” are the blessed ones. That means that the first step toward me living like Christ is acknowledging my need for Christ. It is realizing that I am broken, weak, and needy, and only Jesus can save me. He says that you and I are blessed when we live this way.

I grew up thinking that in order to “please God,” I had to make sure my good deeds always outweighed my bad deeds, and then God would be happy with me. My life was a balancing act, trying to keep God’s approval and maintain my image of a good Christian kid who went to church, read his Bible and generally tried to do the right thing. When I was fifteen, though, I went through a season of rebellion. I remember coming out on the other side of that time, looking back and realizing that my entire theology was useless. That I was not “basically good.” That I couldn’t ever do enough to earn God’s approval. That it didn’t matter what I did or did not do if I wasn’t trusting completely in Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I realized that trying to do life without Jesus is true bondage. I spent so much time in those days wearing myself out, always trying, trying, trying and never reaching my goal of having peace with God. I was trying to do it by myself, because I was a slave to my pride.

Don’t make that same mistake, friend. Ralph Waldo Emerson believed that the want of self-reliance is discontent. Bon Jovi wrote that the want of self-reliance is bondage. I pridefully live as though the want of self-reliance is chaos, but Jesus tells us that the want of self-reliance is peace and blessing. When you and I give up the idea that we are in control, Jesus takes charge and lifts a burden from us. It is a burden, you know, to live as though we are little gods. Because if we are in control, we are also in charge of saving ourselves. But if Jesus is in control? Well, then we can relax and rest in him for our salvation, and we can have joy in knowing that his favor rests upon us because he’s good. We can simply ask God to make us more like himself, to help us live lives acceptable in his sight, and he will begin to do that work in us. People who have been changed by the Holy Spirit are people who are controlled by the Holy Spirit, day by day.

Peace. Freedom. Joy. That is the want of self-reliance. Church, let’s live as though we believe that to be true.

Yours,

Fellow Soldier

Being Pro-Life In a Culture of Death

Dear Church,

This past summer, I met a stranger, a fellow brother in Christ. We talked a while, and then he asked if he could pray for me. Before he prayed, the question came… again. This wasn’t the first time.

“Hey, have you ever prayed for healing?”

I was uncomfortable as I heard my response come out of my mouth, because I knew what would follow.

“No, not really.”

I should want to pray for healing, the man effectually responded, since this could not be what God ultimately wants for me: living with a disability. He pressed me; I stumbled through an explanation. Even though his theology was inaccurate, that is not necessarily an inappropriate question. My interaction with him forced me to put my thoughts on his question into words. I’m realizing now that this anecdote is a small, yet important part of a larger narrative: the story of why every life matters. I’ll circle back.

About a month after this exchange, a movie was released entitled ‘Me Before You’, in which a guy named Will is paralyzed from a motorcycle accident, and decides that he would eventually commit assisted suicide. He does not think it is worth going on in life having a disability. A girl named Lou becomes his caretaker, and sets out to create a list of things that Will must do before he dies. Will is a hardened man, but Lou still endeavors to help him accomplish everything on his list. Although Will and Lou predictably fall in love, the movie unfortunately ends with Will following through on his plans to take his own life, because he can no longer bear to live in a wheelchair.

Our culture creates stories like that – this is not the first – because it presumes that certain lives have less value than others. Every single day in America, mothers and fathers are told that their unborn children’s lives are probably not worth living because they would have to live with a disability, so perhaps it would be better if they did not live at all. This is the line of thinking that kills millions of unborn children every year. Abortion is a hot-button topic in Christian circles, but what must be emphasized is that being “pro-life” means taking an active stand for the value of every life, not only unborn lives.

We live in a culture that insinuates to children, or grown men and women, that their lives are lacking because they cannot walk, or they have to use a wheelchair, walker, or cane, or perhaps they have developed at a different pace than those around them – and tells those people they should want to die, or at least long for a completely different life than the one they are living.

Abortion is symptomatic of this culture of death, and there are other symptoms, too. Many people in our nation are afraid right now, because they’ve seen our President-elect disrespect Muslims, blacks, the disabled, Latinos, the LGBTQ community, and women, and they worry that more people will fall in line, as some already have. When you consider our society’s low regard for human life, it becomes clear how these fears arise.

I have Spina Bifida, and I am in a wheelchair. Contrary to what my culture tells me, I do not believe my life is lacking. As a Christian, I believe that every single one of our lives has value, dignity and meaning, because we are all created in the image of God. Church, that is what the Bible says, and it is our responsibility to actively share this truth in a society that does not believe it. Doing so will involve standing up for the dignity of every life, not only unborn lives, and speaking out against the degradation of people who our God has called precious. We have to tell them they matter to us if we would begin to make a difference. This is a call to bravery in the church, because we may even have to stand up to our nation’s leaders in defending the sanctity of every life.

Now, to get back to the original question. The reason I don’t pray for healing from Spina Bifida is the same reason I believe that every life has worth: because I know my God is sovereign and good, and he has never, ever made one single mistake. Because my life, as it is right now, is not lacking. Because I would not trade any of the experiences God has given me, people he’s allowed me to meet, or privileges I have because of having Spina Bifida for any other. Because I am uniquely positioned to glorify God because I have Spina Bifida. He planned it this way.

I share this story because my life is one in a sea of millions of valuable lives that God has created, and believing that life is precious changes everything. So, let me ask you: do you believe that your life is beautiful because of the dignity you have as an image-bearer of the Most High God of the universe? More than that, do you believe that same truth about every life, born and unborn? If so, church, live like you believe it! Stand with the broken, the vulnerable, and the marginalized. In this culture of death, which arbitrarily assigns greater or lesser worth to different human beings, the church must defend the truth that every life has value and is worth living.

That is what it is to be pro-life.

Yours,

Fellow Soldier