Forty years later, 54,559,615 abortions. When I saw this number, my heart ached for the lives lost, the smiles never seen, the faces never kissed and the laughter never heard. I am 40 and it's staggering for me to realize that every year I've celebrated life, 1.36 million died before they were born. As a Christian the issue of abortion is clear for me – thou shalt not kill. My Bible tells me that God knit us together in our mother's womb; at the moment of conception we were given life, spirit and purpose from our creator. Abortion is not a cause for celebration, but rather a cause for mourning, and 40 years later, we have to ask ourselves how we stood by and allowed 54 million lives to be taken on our watch.
Yet, as I write these words, there is a young girl laying in her bed wondering how she's ever going to tell her parents that she's pregnant; there's a single mom who can barely put food on the table for the children she has, who has just discovered another one on the way; there is a young couple living on the streets who can't feed themselves much less the child growing within her womb – and here, with them, where are we? Are we there to comfort, clothe, support, nurture and guide? Are we offering a safe place to stay? Or are we sitting comfortably in our warm homes taking a stand on twitter and Facebook?
I think we should do better. It's easy to send a tweet or post a rant on Facebook, but what about that empty room in your house that you only use when family comes to visit? If you could save one of those 54 million lives by making them a part of your family, would you? Would you be willing to interrupt your comfortable routine to save a child who has no one?
Abortion is an issue we should fight as believers. It's wrong. But we cannot take a stand on abortion if we are unwilling to take up the cause of the orphan and embrace the importance of adoption. If we could have those 54 million lives back, where would they be? Would they be in our jails, our streets, our gangs and our institutions because no one was there when they were born to help? Would they be crowding our foster care system? Or, would you and I step up to the plate and care for them -- are there enough willing Christian families to shelter, love and guide them? If so, where are they?
At any given moment in the U.S. there are over 400,000 kids in our foster care system and more than 100,000 available for adoption with both parents having lost total custody to the state. That's 400,000 lives that were saved; 400,000 children who still have a hope and a future. Do you look at that empty room differently now?
Yes, church, it's time to take a stand. Let's fight for lives lost and those not lost. Instead of hiding behind our computer screens and venting on Facebook, let's put aside our comfort to care for the lost and lonely. God's mandate is clear in James 1:27: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
What can you do? Find a local pregnancy center and volunteer – be a light to a scared young mom who doesn't know what to do. Call your local adoption agency and ask how you can volunteer to help families who've opened their homes to care for children. Become a foster parent. Become an adoptive parent. Whatever you do, let's stop talking about stopping abortions and start doing the work of love in our communities.
Pam Parish is Women's and Communications Pastor at Victory World Church in Atlanta, and is an adoptive parent to four teenage girls.
Publication date: February 4, 2013