What does one do when really faced with the ultimate proverbial choice in life? Particularly when facing strong expectations from unexpected sources. ♦
When Dynah was raped her life turned upside down. The trauma was bad enough. Then came the guilt and varied responses of friends, family, and well meaning counselors. As a Christian at a small Christian college, she faced strong expectations from unexpected sources.
Her fiance wanted her to have an abortion to obviously be rid of this terrible issue. He could not imagine or allow their clearly planned life together to be marred by this incident. His calm but visceral anger at her elevated as he sensed her hesitation on any next steps. Even as an anti-abortionist on a fast track to become a pastor, he saw a very clear distinction here that justified this unfortunate action.
Her parents were more sympathetic but equally adamant that she needed to end this nightmare quickly. Her mother had an abortion in her twenties before she married Dynah’s father. Her father made it very clear that he did not want his daughter back home raising a child out of this violent act and causing financial and emotional strain to their quiet household.
Her pastor was hyper-sensitive to counseling on this matter due to legal implications at his church. He was not a licensed counselor and his church was under scrutiny and even threat of a lawsuit over his past advisory help with a young woman who later committed suicide. His subtle, cautionary advice was to do whatever she needed to do in light of such a despicable act.
Her college dean, on the other hand, was more concerned about the negative impact on her high-profile fiance and what any perceived scandal would do to his and the school’s reputation. He curtly advised her to have the abortion or be dismissed from the school.
Tough Questions, Tough Choice
She dismissed herself and quit school. She broke off her engagement and drove across the country back to her family home on the west coast. She contemplated suicide as a way out of this disaster that had befallen her. Her good faith in the God of her upbringing was seriously rattled and teetering. Her questions were unending. Among them:
- “Why, oh why was this happening to me?”
- “What have I done to deserve such a fate as this point in my life?”
- “Why didn’t God protect me?”
- “What am I supposed to do now?”
- “Surely God would understand that I should abort this child, but is that right?”
The abortion clinic in San Francisco was a very troubling mixture of care and pressure. Even with her mother at her side, Dynah could not go through with the abortion that would have apparently resolved all problems. She left the building to contemplate her options. She further retreated alone to Mendocino in the northern coast of California for a few weeks to reset her spiritual bearings.
Away from the voices of the world and others around her, she reaffirms the value of life and the unknown ways and means of an Almighty God who knows each of us and our circumstances intimately and with purpose. She succumbs in humble submission and relinquishes her life, her whole life and being, to the God of all Creation.
Her faith in God restored, she concludes to have the child, and though adoption is considered in the midst of unsteady circumstances, she keeps the beautiful born child.
The Atonement Child
This is actually the plot line of a profoundly engaging novel by the renown Christian author, Francine Rivers. The book The Atonement Child 1 deftly raises all angles and issues associated with this everyday dilemma around the world of the unwanted pregnancy. For some the matter is simple, at least on the surface, for others the matter is complex. For anyone actually going through it, the matter is anything but inconsequential in the short and the long run.
Pro-life and Pro-Choice Christians and non-Christians are not spared harsh exposure and reality hits. They are also not given pat answers or real easy choices either.
The implications of abortion, rape, and sexual sin, both in and outside the given constructs of a loving and forgiving God are very real, substantial, and potentially crushing. But we are all made in His image and all life is precious. It is the way of surrender to the God of all Creation that is the path at once best but most difficult in the light of physical circumstances that scream otherwise to us.
Fortunately, how we choose, or may have chosen in our past, is not irredeemable or unforgivable. That is, the grace of God can forgive and restore despite our past choices. How we love and engage on this difficult topic is but another opportunity to extend human grace, kindness, peace, and understanding.
Are you at peace with your choices?
Then you will experience God ‘s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
1 The Atonement Child, by Francine Rivers, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1997.