by Katie Reid
One of the most profound experiences I had during my freshman year at Hillsdale College was when Rebecca Punches, the high school and young professionals coordinator for Protect Life Michigan, gave a presentation on the many different professions we could pursue in the pro-life movement. While the content of her presentation was interesting and helpful, it was this story she told that left an imprint on my mind and still inspires me in my work today:
There was a church in Nazi Germany that sat next to a train track. The parishioners of this church would gather together in worship each Sunday, only to be interrupted by terrible screams coming from the passing trains. These screams didn’t come from any ordinary passengers but from captive Jews being transported to one of the Nazi concentration camps. The pastor was aware of the effect this was having on his congregation, so one Sunday when he heard the train approach, he decided he had to do something—and told his organist to play louder in order to drown out the screaming.
I was shocked. At the beginning of the story, I had begun to smile as I anticipated an inspirational story about a group of remarkable Christians who did their part to help their fellow man. But as she continued, my face fell. Tears came to my eyes as I realized that this lukewarm version of Christian love was something of which I too was guilty. Proverbs 31:8-9 bids us, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” As followers of Christ, we are called to stand up for those who can’t speak for themselves. We are called to protect the needy and the helpless and not remain silent when we hear their cries, but I knew there were times that I hadn’t. I had ignored the suffering of those around me for the sake of my own comfort and avoided conflict with those who have sought to undermine this injustice.
The law is certainly heavy, but God comforts and removes our sin “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). It’s important to recognize when we’ve fallen short of God’s plan for our lives, but we can’t let that discourage or distract us from the work we have ahead of us.
Paul teaches us in Romans 5:3-5 that we can “rejoice in our sufferings,” we can rejoice in our failures, knowing that we can find hope in God’s love and forgiveness where we expect to find shame and judgment.
We’ve fallen short of His glory and ignored the cries of the broken, but we find hope in His forgiveness and strength in His love. There’s so much work to be done, so many lives to protect. The unborn, the mentally ill, the hungry, the broken, and many others still need to hear about our hope in Christ and the love He has for us, and it’s our duty to bring it to them.
Katie Reid is a 2021 Y4Life intern (y4life.org).