Elizabeth’s Barrenness—Her Perspective vs God’s Perspective (#BraveLikeMary Series)

Dear Christian Sisters,

The story of Jesus’ birth actually begins with the story of John the Baptist’s birth.

John’s mother, Elizabeth, was a relative of Mary’s, so John and Jesus were cousins—not first cousins because Elizabeth and Mary were not sisters, but cousins in their larger, extended family.

Elizabeth plays an important role in Mary’s life. She was Mary’s mentor.

But before we talk about Elizabeth mentoring Mary, let’s try to see the story from Elizabeth’s perspective.

Introducing Zacharias and Elizabeth

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
Luke 1:5

So what Luke is telling us is that both Zacharias and Elizabeth were of the tribe of Levi. The Levites were the Jewish priests.

Elizabeth is Both Righteous and Barren

They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
Luke 1:6-7

So, Elizabeth’s clock had been ticking for some time. She wasn’t beyond childbearing years, that is, she had not yet entered menopause, but she was getting close.

Yet, she had no children.

In the Jewish culture of the time, big families were the norm. To not have children was rare. And as you may recall from my blog post titled, “Abortion & the Bible,” Old Testament Jews valued children.

It could have been that others shamed Elizabeth for not having children, yet she walked blamelessly.

Barrenness

Let me ask you this: Is an inability to have children a curse from God?

I hope you said no!

The answer is in Luke 1:6-7 (quoted above). Both Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous in the Lord, yet they did not have children.

God is love (1 John 4:8). A curse cannot come from love.

If Elizabeth’s story is like your story, know that your challenge to conceive or to carry a child to term is not about how good you are.

It’s about furthering God’s kingdom.

God’s Perspective

We all have our stories. We tell our stories from our own perspectives.

“We can’t have kids” is Zacharias and Elizabeth’s story.

“When I will receive greater glory, Zacharias and Elizabeth will have a child” is God’s story.

We can look at every story in the Bible from the perspective of those who were there and from the perspective of God.

Now, our insights won’t be perfect because the culture of the time isn’t like ours today (especially that of the United States) and because it’s challenging to imagine God’s thoughts since He is so much greater than we are; however, taking time to consider other perspectives will help us to understand God.

We can also look at our own stories from our own perspective, from the perspective of others, and from the perspective of God.

It’s a whole new twist on He said/she said.

He Said / She Said

Have you ever told a story from childhood only to hear your parents or your siblings tell the story in a completely different way?

To encourage my older boy to write, we teamed up to write some he said/she said stories. We took the same event and each told the story. It was a great way for him to learn perspective!

Our favorite he said/she said story was about a trip from Minneapolis to Atlanta through Detroit, where we had a 5-hour delay. He absolutely loved that trip because he got to watch videos, explore the airport, ride the tram and the moving sidewalk, and go on a big airplane (777).

He was 7 at the time of this story. My other boy was a potty training toddler. The 7 pm flight ended up being a 12 midnight flight. Can you guess what the trip was like for me?

I carried my bag, my purse, a diaper bag, and a toddler.

I took all of us to the bathroom for diaper changes.

I walked boys in the moving sidewalk and took them on the tram over and over again.

When we finally got on the airplane, the boys wouldn’t go to sleep because they were so excited that they had their very own TV.

When we got to the Atlanta airport, the 2-story escalator going down to the tram was out-of-order. Thankfully it was going down, not up, but it was 3 am, and I was carrying several bags and a toddler!

What my son thought was fun, I thought was exhausting!

My Abortion Story from My Perspective or God’s Perspective

When I think of my own abortion story, I can think about it from my perspective (read “Faces of Abortions“)
OR
from my boyfriend’s perspective
OR
from my parents’ perspective
OR
from God’s perspective.

How does the story change?

She Said

When I had the abortion, I was relieved because I thought the crisis was over.

How else did I feel? Good question. I think that mostly I was angry that I got pregnant. It didn’t seem fair to me that men could have sex without consequences, but women were shamed for being pregnant out of wedlock.

I’m not saying that I was right. Feelings are not right or wrong. They just are.

He Said

I’m sure God cried when I aborted my baby. I’m also sure that God welcomed my baby girl into heaven that day.

I am also convinced that God decided to use my story to stop future abortions, to stop other women from hurting themselves through abortion.

And here I am today, redeemed by His love (read “Forgiveness“), compelled by the Lord to write this blog, and speaking in Uganda and in the U.S.

I traded my story for His story.

[Will you sponsor my next mission trip to Uganda? (Dec 26, 2017-Jan 6, 2018) Your tax-deductible donation can be made online.]

The United States’ Abortion History from Women’s Rights Perspective or God’s Perspective

When I think of crisis pregnancies and abortion throughout the history of the United States and the world, I can look at it from from the perspectives of women who are worried about bringing a child into this world
OR
from a women’s rights perspective
OR
from God’s perspective.

How does the story change?

She Said

Women’s reasons for aborting are varied. Here are just a few:

I can’t afford to raise a child. My parents will be so disappointed with me. The baby daddy will be so mad. Children put up for adoption feel abandoned and might be abused by their adoptive parents. I have the right to choose.

Again, I am not saying that these are right. They are feelings, mostly feelings of fear.

He Said

God cries for every woman who aborts. God welcomes every aborted baby into heaven.

I am also convinced that God is saddened by women not feeling valued by men even though we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

As for our nation—as for all the nations that have legalized abortion—I’m sure God is angry. He founded the United States based on His commandments, yet as a nation we have decided that murder is okay in some cases and not others.

How is this different than King Ahaz burning his sons in fire as sacrifices to a foreign god (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chron 28:3, 2 Kings 16:2; 2 Chron 28:1)?

(For more on King Ahaz, read the “What God Said About the Jew Who Did Not Value Children” section of my blog post “Abortion & the Bible.”)

A good friend of mine has a lot to say about this. I’ve asked her to be my guest blogger in January, which is Sanctity of Human Life month, so stay tuned!

I look forward to reading more of Zacharias and Elizabeth’s story with you tomorrow.

In Christ,

Cheryl

PS: Here is the link to my son’s He Said/She Said blog post titled, “My First Flight on a 777.”

Part 5: Abortion & the Bible

Dear Pro-Choice Christian Sisters,

You may have heard it said that the Bible says nothing about abortion, but I say that the Bible says a lot about valuing the pre-born.

And before you get mad at me, let me tell you that I have had an abortion. (I wrote some of my story in “Part 2: Abortion & the Church,” in “Part 3: Abortion & Our Words,” on Facebook Live, and in “Faces of Abortion.”)

Please do not think that I am writing to you from a “holier-than-thou” pedestal. The last thing I want to do is tell the world that I had an abortion.

But I am telling you anyway because I do not want the emotional pain of abortion for you—or for anyone.

What I did was wrong. But I know that the Lord has forgiven me. If you need forgiveness and can’t wait for my blog on that, then go to Psalm 51 and read it as if you wrote it, as if you are saying it to God yourself.

Not only has God forgiven me, but He has also called me to cry loudly, to not to hold back, and to raise my voice like a trumpet (Isaiah 58:1a).

You see, I used to be you. I was raised in the church and yet I had an abortion anyway. I volunteered for Planned Parenthood Action Fund. I counter-protested the Christians who picketed outside an abortion clinic. I voted solely on whether a candidate was pro-choice.

If I had understood the scriptures, I’m sure that I would not have had an abortion. Knowing what I know now about how darkness fell over my life, I do not want that pain for anyone—not you, not your friends, not even my enemies. You are my sisters in Christ!

Ever since the Lord first showed His love for me in very practical ways, I have studied the Bible. He has taught me how to understand the Bible. He has taught me how to pray.

So today I pray that you will hear me out—or as Jesus would say, “She who has ears, let her hear” (Matt 11:15, 13:9, 13:43; Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8, 14:35).

Lord, bless the readers of this blog post in ways that they feel, without doubt, that those blessings came from You. Open their minds to understanding the scriptures (Luke 24:45). Let us remember that You are love (1 John 4:8). You love the world, the whole world (John 3:16). You do not love only the men but also the women. Lord, if any readers do not believe Your love for them, let them read “Part 2: Abortion & the Church,” to see how Your Son, Jesus, lovingly treated the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery. I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen!

Choosing Light Not Darkness

When I had an abortion at age 17, darkness fell over my life. Before “The Walking Dead” became a TV show, I referred to myself as the walking dead because I looked alive. I pretended to be happy. But I had no joy.

I realize this now that I have been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9) and have received mercy (1 Peter 2:10). I have turned from darkness to light and have received forgiveness (Acts 26:18). Now I have the joy of the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10) and peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

You see, when we choose to follow Jesus, we walk in the light (John 8:12). I like it much better here! I invite you to join me so that you, too, can feel the joy of the Lord.

The Word Abortion Is Not in the Bible

You may be thinking, “Well, that’s fine for you, but I know that the Bible doesn’t say anything about abortion.” Since the Bible does not have the word abortion in it, I can see your point. But I ask you to spend some time with me today exploring why pro-life Christians still believe that abortion is wrong in the eyes of the Lord.

For Christianity “is not a blind leap in the dark; faith is a reasoned response to God’s Self revelation” (Dr. Bill Creasy).

You are right that the word abortion is not in the Bible. You can find a lot about sex, money, and repentance in the Bible but not any stories of abortion. Why is that?

Old Testament Jews Valued Children

Let’s remember that the Old Testament was written for Jews, which was a culture that valued children. Because the Jews valued children, there was no reason to instruct them to not end their pregnancies. How do we know they valued children?

  1. We know that they valued children because the Old Testament includes many genealogies—lists of people in their family history, their ancestors (genealogies of Cain, Adam, Noah, Shem, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob/Israel, Esau, Joseph, Jacob’s grandchildren, census by tribe of genealogical record, David’s ancestors, Samuel’s ancestors—We’re only at the 9th book out of 66; we haven’t even gotten to Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph or through Mary).
  2. We know that they valued children because of how women reacted to not being able to have children (Sarah, Abimelech’s wife and female slaves, Rebekah, Rachel, Samson’s mother, Hannah, Michal, the Shunammite Woman, and New Testament Jew Elizabeth).
  3. We know that they valued children because of King David and Bathsheba’s story. Do you know this story? You may remember that Solomon, who becomes king after David, is Bathsheba’s son, but do you remember that Solomon had an older brother who was born as a result of adultery?

That’s right, David, the man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22; 1 Sam 13:14; Ps 89:20; Acts 7:46), broke one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18). Actually, he broke at least two (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17). Read on.

David and Bathsheba’s Story

There are many cool things about David’s story. Everyone knows the gist of the David and Goliath story. Many know that he was anointed king over Israel by Samuel, but many miss that it was another 13 or so years before he actually became king.

Everything about David’s story is interesting. There’s plenty of drama in David’s life to keep you riveted for years. But here we’re going to focus on how David and Bathsheba got together.

At this point in his story, David is king over all of Israel. David stayed home when he should’ve been at the battlefield. He sent all his men to battle while he stayed home (2 Sam 11:1), including Bathsheba’s husband Uriah (2 Sam 11:3, 1 Chron 11:26, 41).

While hanging out on his own rooftop, David saw Uriah’s wife Bathsheba bathing (evidently Uriah’s home was nearby), he summoned her, and he had sex with her. She got pregnant (2 Sam 11:2-5).

What we don’t know is whether David and Bathsheba “had eyes for each other” before this story or whether she had sex with him because he was the king and reasoned that she couldn’t say “no.” My personal opinion, based on how Bathsheba interacts with David throughout their lifetimes, is that they had eyes for each other. But that’s my opinion, not fact.

Today in the United States, you might expect a rich man to offer his mistress money for an abortion or even pressure her into having an abortion. But that’s not what David does.

Why not? Because that’s not what God’s chosen people did.

Instead, David tries to trick Uriah into having sex with his own wife so that he would think that the very large baby born prematurely was his (2 Sam 11:6-8). Uriah doesn’t fall for the trick (2 Sam 11:9-13), so David has him killed in battle (2 Sam 11:14-21).

After Bathsheba mourned the death of Uriah, David married her and she had a son. “But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Sam 11:27).

The Lord sent Nathan to David to rebuke him for what he had done (2 Sam 12:1). Basically, through Nathan, God says, I gave you everything. “Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight?” (2 Sam 12:8-9)

Despised the word of the Lord.

The Lord explains the consequences of David’s sin (2 Sam 12:11-12, 14), David feels convicted of his own sin (2 Sam 12:13, Ps 51:3-4), and his son gets sick and dies (2 Sam 12:15-19).

In summary, David decided that it was better to kill one of his own mighty men of the armies (1 Chron 11:26, 41) than to kill the pre-born baby boy.

Why? Because the Jews valued children.

And because the Jews valued children, there was no reason to instruct them to not end their pregnancies.

What God Said About the Jew Who Did Not Value Children

Were there Jews who killed their children?

Yes, King Ahaz burned his sons in fire as sacrifices to a foreign god “according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons of Israel” (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chron 28:3). The nations whom the Lord had driven out were the ethnic groups that lived in the Promised Land while the Jews spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness.

How did God feel about what Ahaz did? The Bible says that Ahaz “did not do right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 16:2; 2 Chron 28:1).

Over 100 years later, the Lord sends Jeremiah to the same location as Ahaz’s blood sacrifices, the “blood of the innocent” (Jeremiah 19:4), and referred to the blood sacrifices as “a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind” (Jeremiah 19:5).

If blood sacrifices of children never entered God’s mind, why would abortion?

Ahaz was worshipping gods of wood and stone (Ezekiel 20:31-32).

What are our gods of wood and stone?
Paper money and diamonds, perhaps?
How many times do we women abort babies because of how costly it will be to go through with the pregnancy?

“For when you offer your gifts and make your sons pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day. So shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live,” says the Lord God, “I will not be inquired of by you. What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say, ‘We will be like the Gentiles, like the families in other countries, serving wood and stone.’”
Ezekiel 20:31-32 NKJV

How is it that we expect God to be inquired of by us—that is, why do we expect God to listen to us—when we are bowing to wood and stone gods rather than Him?

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Matthew 6:24 NASB

Bible Shows That Pre-Born Are Children

Now you might be thinking of the argument that the pre-born are not babies or are not human until they are born.

First
Let me ask you this: If I would not have had an abortion, what would have happened? I would have given birth to a baby, a human. Not a dog, not a monkey, but a human baby who would have grown up and today would be 29 years old.

Second
Surely someone before me has quoted to you all sorts of verses that show that God knew people before they were born. Here is the list for you to read on your own:

Third
The Law in the Bible (Exodus 21:22-25) says that if two men struggle and strike a pregnant woman in the process, causing harm to the pre-born, then the penalty is a life for a life, that is, his life for the baby’s life.

Fourth
But here’s the best proof that I have heard to date. I learned this from Pastor Lon Solomon of McLean Bible Church. The New Testament was written in Greek, and Pastor Lon points out that the same Greek word brephos is used to refer to:

  • John the Baptist when he was still in Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:41, 44)
    AND
  • babies when the disciples were bringing their children to Jesus so that He could touch them (Luke 18:15-17).

Not sure if you believe me? Read for yourself on the Blue Letter Bible website. Be sure to scroll down for all the uses of brephos.

By Him all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible (Colossians 3:16a).

The body is not for immorality but for the Lord and the Lord is for the body (1 Corintians 6:13b).

Choose God’s Light & Teach Other Christians To Do the Same

Dear Christian Sister, do not despise the word of the Lord. Do not do evil in His sight. Believe that the Bible demonstrates that God values the lives of children and pre-born babies. As a follower of Christ, He wants you to value the lives of children and pre-born babies, too.

Choose life for yourself.
Teach your daughters and sons to choose life.
Teach all those at your church to choose life.
Choose the Light.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
Ephesians 5:6-14 NKJV

We Christians have got to get this right. The Lord cannot use us in the world when we are living like the world (see Romans 12:2; James 4:4).

We Christians have got to stay out of abortion clinics—for where our treasures are, there our hearts are also (Matt 6:21).

If you are conflicted, if you are unsure, if you are considering an abortion, please contact me privately. There’s no judgment here. Let me pray for you. Let me help you find help near you.

With the love of Christ,

Cheryl

Abortion & _______ Series:

Abortion & the Great Commission | Abortion & the Church | Abortion & Our Words | Abortion & Politics | Abortion & the Bible | Abortion & Revival