It's hard to stand outside the abortion clinic praying each car that pulls in will not go through with procuring an abortion, only to repeatedly be ignored. Most people going in will not even look at the sidewalk counselors. At times I find it hard to believe that there's much purpose in the my prayers and in my presence. It feels like it should be easier to defeat evil than it is if God has given us what he says he has...his spirit and power. It's frustrating when it seems that God allows evil to happen all too often.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm praying wrong, akin to my son's feeble attempts to master sweeping. Of course, he can't handle the big, adult sized broom, and only manages to aimlessly swipe the floor every so often. That's how I feel sometimes, that I haven't figured out how to use the tool of prayer very well. It's made for a purpose and can bring about miracles, but something seems wrong when what I'm praying against happens over and over and over.
Last week I was standing outside the clinic feeling rather powerless, my anger over the situation coming to a head. I asked God why it is so difficult and rare for his kingdom to triumph on earth, at least in front of my eyes, and I started to think how limited my vision is. It struck me that I may never physically see the result of my prayers for others, but that doesn't render them ineffective. I can't know what sort of spiritual dynamic may be changing in the lives of the men and women who enter the clinic because people like myself are standing in prayer for them. They may go through with the abortion, but their hearts may be changed in some small or large way because we have asked it to be so. I felt encouraged to pray that God would raise up people from the staff and clients to speak out against abortion, if not today, then someday.
Hope is something no Christian should be in short supply of. Hope and the lack of hope is one of the main differences between the lives of believers and non-believers. Jesus is hope, the message of the gospel writers is one of hope, of pressing on towards the end goal of eternity with the creator. Without God, the best advice on life goes something like...deal with it, and always look out for number one. But oh how things change with faith in a merciful God. I have a friend facing a difficult situation who wrote in an email, "How tragic if I, an ambassador of the King of Life, a vessel of His hope, were to give up and let go of my hope so easily." She's right. I'm outside the clinic once a week asking people to take a chance on hope, to do something they have deemed much too difficult, to bear a child. It is tragic if I give in to the same despair and lack of hope--I know that God is GOD. He's always doing something, even if I am blind to it.