by PPL Former Executive Director, Deborah Hollifield
In 1755 the Great Lisbon earthquake and tsunami - felt as far away as London - killed 50,000 people and changed Europe forever. With more churches, priests and nuns than any city in Europe - (yet the priests of Lisbon were famously licentious and corrupt) - people did not perceive the disaster as a tragedy that should drive people closer to God, and repent. They instead decided that God was not in control, that prayers and piety were inadequate, and thus began the Age of Enlightenment and the secularization of Europe.
On September 11, 2001, America’s vulnerability was exposed when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by well-financed young men engaged in jihad on behalf of a false God. In the three days that followed, America’s churches were packed. And then - like Europe - instead of repenting, America moved even further away from God, digging deeper into the ungodly cultural chaos we experience today.
In Revelation Chapter 16 we read of the repetition of the Egyptian plagues in the bowl judgments: sores, dead aquatic life, water turned to blood, intense heat, darkness, dried up waterways, frogs, earthquakes and hail stones. All those things were judgments of God, intended to turn sinful Egypt back to God in repentance. Yet despite suffering all of this, the people will ultimately refuse to repent and instead will continue to blaspheme God.
It’s easy to see the warnings. We benefit from the record of three millennia of obvious patterns of reprobation, judgment and failure to repent. When it comes to submitting to God's will, human behavior is sadly predictable. The solution is equally obvious:
If God's people were to resolve to repent in meaningful ways on our personal behalf and on behalf of a sleeping church and of a nation bathed in the blood of abortion, the marring of the image of God and the perversion of the Gospel - perhaps God would remember us and grant us a delay.
This grim reminder is why nobody likes a prophet. But God, in His wisdom, chose the prophets from among men whose hearts would lead them to prophesize from a place of tears and protestations; men who would speak words of mercy along with words of judgment. As we turn to face another year of uncertainty, we ought not to stop up our ears the moment we hear the cry of accusation – now is the time to listen long and hard, so to hear both the accusation and the promise that mercy is available – and to put feet to our gratitude.
Remember that our work for the preborn is a work of evangelism – a way of spreading the Good News to those who have forgotten, or who have never heard, or who might never hear if they remain unborn. There are so many ways to reach so many people caught in the web of abortion. There is a way that God has prepared for you to not just believe in the prolife cause – but to act in the prolife cause - at such a time as this.