And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:30-31
Today was a special day not because of anything I did but because of what God did. He is the reason for all things and He has purpose in all that He does and all occurs because of Him. But today was special and He encouraged me and the others with me on this day in an extraordinary way.
Today is Thursday and it’s the day we go to Iowa City to the Emma Goldman Abortuary. This is one of two clinics in Iowa City that take the lives of unborn children and snuff them out before their time. They murder these little precious souls before they have an opportunity to see the light of day. It is a sad day in that respect.
Today was extraordinary not because lives were saved, although God has His purposes in those lives regardless of how long they live. Nothing surprised God today and nothing is out of the reach of His Sovereign arm and good pleasure. He sits in the heavens and does as He pleases. So nothing caught Him off guard today. But He blessed us. He blessed us with sweet fellowship and He blessed us with a common cause to proclaim His name and to make His name known to those that went inside the killing place, those that walked past and those that stood guard.
There was a new procedure in place today at Emma. They, for the first time to my knowledge, had deathscorts. What is a deathscort you ask? It is a person hired to escort the women into and out of the “clinic”. I suppose they are there to “protect” the men and women that go into the “clinic”. They are there to help them along the road that leads to the termination of the small child that is safely snuggled in the womb of its mother. At least for a short period of time.
The deathscorts are an obvious answer to the consistent presence of a small church that committed itself to doing abortion ministry on the streets of Iowa City. Two weeks ago the Police were called and I had a nice conversation with the officer, and he told me he disagreed with us, but he was there to defend our right to do so if we are acting lawfully.
Apparently Emma has become more “concerned” that we are effecting their business and they need some help getting them in the door. They know if they get them in the door the odds are much higher they will go through with it. They are so nice to them in the clinic and so supportive and I’m sure they continue to carry this facade all the while removing the life inside of the mothers. It’s sad and it’s tragic on so many levels.
Yet, the encouragement and the blessing that comes from the Lord even in such a place of horror is that God is still Sovereign. As brother Todd engaged the deathscorts, I’m sure they had no idea how they would be confronted in their new job. Todd delivered the good news of Christ with passion and urgency and told them that He and He alone can save them from their sins. Even the sin of murder as they are complicit with what is going on inside of that place. The nice Catholic woman that was present because of the 40 days of life had no idea what she was going to hear when we began to engage them and she was in complete shock as she scurried for the other side of the parking lot. I tried to engage her in conversation later to tell her why we do this but she wanted nothing to do with it. She was content to rub her beads and pray to the god that was not hearing her prayers.
The encouragement came from the angry kid that asked me if homosexuality was a sin and I said that God tells us it is and yes, I believe the Word of God. The encouragement came from the conversation with Katy that had never heard the gospel before through her upbringing as a Catholic and had no idea how to get to heaven other than her own good works. She was quickly exposed to the truth of her good works being filthy garments in the sight of a Holy God.
Encouragement came as we went downtown to openly proclaim Christ in the public square. The crowds were huge and many that would never hear the truth of Christ’s love outside of an open air preacher being present. The religious woman dressed in the garb of a clergy woman holding a sign that said “God loves all” and when I asked her if she could be wrong about that would only ignore me.
The encouragement kept coming and as we gave away 150 DVD’s of “The Biggest Question” in a short hour that many received with joy and many mocked as the Scriptures tell us they will. It was all about Him and nothing about me and although I had the greatest uplifting I’ve had in a while I labored for Him and I put no confidence in my flesh.
As I exchanged some text messages with Todd later I said this to him.
“Well I’ve had many good days but this was special. Not sure why maybe having you and your family. A combination of the conversations and the deathscorts. The rejection by the Catholic woman and the open air preaching. It was all so good and so amazing. Maybe I was just humbled that God would save a wretch like me and use me for His glory. My cup runneth over…”
So much more could be said about this day but here is the bottom line for me as an evangelist and as a Christian. When a Christian fails to do evangelistic work, they lose out on the biggest blessing that God could possibly bestow upon them. To suffer for the sake of Christ. I never thought I was suffering for Him today but we were ridiculed, mocked and reviled by many today and I consider it pure joy as I encounter those that despise the Lord that I love. He told me this would happen and because of this I was not surprised.
I write this today to encourage brothers and sisters that take to the streets. I write this today to afflict those that are comfortable in their Christianity. I write this today to encourage those that might be considering gospel ministry. I hope that nothing in this speaks of me other than my wretchedness, but I belong to a great Savior and that is worth boasting about.