We are well into the fall campaign of 40 days for Life, praying for the ending of abortion. Locally, we gather on State St. in Bristol, TN across from the abortion clinic and pray. I will be honest. This time of prayer can be difficult to endure. Sometimes, the thoughts of “When is this ever going to be over?” fill your mind. This is not necessarily referring to the campaign but the practice of abortion that is an atrocity in our region and throughout the nation. I mean, 8 years of praying regularly and the clinic is still open. We still see women going in the clinic for that purpose. It is heartbreaking but more than that, it is heart sickening sometimes.
Yet I can step back and breathe and thank the Lord for those who have been raised up who ask to talk to those women going in and out of the clinic and offer another solution and hope. They are voices for LIFE that have chosen to continue on past 40 Days for Life and they stand all year to serve the Lord in front of that clinic. When we started praying 8 years ago in Bristol, there were few to pray and hardly anyone offering help directly in front of the clinic. I thank God for the consistent voices crying out. I thank God for the constant witness of life and truth. I thank Him for the other LIFE victories in our nation and region.
Sometimes in the prayer time we hold signs by the road and pray. Signs saying, “Pray for the Ending of Abortion”, “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood”, “Women Regret Abortions”, “Choose Life”” etc. Passersby in cars have all sorts of reactions. We have profanity yelled at us, people who throw trash, and many not so nice gestures. We also have many honks and waves. We also get a lot of thumbs up. One particular day earlier in the campaign, I was particularly burdened by both the issue for life and areas of personal struggle. A car passed by and both in the front seat gave me a thumb’s down. It was more than just general discouragement. I was weighed down with “Will this ever change?” As I talked to the Lord about it. I asked Him to give me 2 thumbs up to encourage my heart. The rest of the morning passed and I never saw it. I encouraged myself in the Lord and kept going.
One day last week I was pained by what was going on in the clinic. It’s easy for me to get upset by what we witness when we are down there. We chose to stand with signs by the road. A car honked and I looked up to see 2 thumbs up from the two in the front seat. I was surprised. I forgot about what I asked of the Lord. Tears started streaming down my face as He ministered to me. Through that little incident, I was encouraged that He is smiling over me. It was an affirmation and approval of my choice to stand for LIFE, that I was doing the right thing and that He was proud of me, an affirmation of the sacrifices I have made to stand for the unborn. Even an affirmation of my choice to respond to His calling on my life overall. He used 2 thumbs up to encourage me. And I am thankful for that. God is like that. He wants to encourage us in the assignments He gives us. He never leaves us alone.
So, I say to all those who stand up for LIFE, for those who are part of 40 Days in various cities across America and the world, “2 THUMBS UP” and I remind you of an instruction from the Scripture (that is actually on one of the signs we hold at 40 Days for Life)
“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die.” Proverbs 31:8
Matthew or Julie Wine