Issue Fatigue

“Why doesn’t God have a plan to end abortion?”

This is the question I was recently asked by a man in whom I sensed a great weariness and frustration. Is God absent? Does He not hear our cries? Why does He not respond? He may have been feeling what many of us struggle with, something I call “issue fatigue.” Abortion? Again? Still? Always? God…why?

I’m not sure if my answer was what he was hoping for, but I’ve wrestled with this question myself for many years, and have landed on a clear—though challenging—response: God’s plan for ending abortion is His people.

God is more than capable of ending any earthly problem, including abortion. (Although we should be cautious about calling down His judgment upon our world’s wickedness. He pretty much defined “scorched Earth” at Sodom and Gomorrah.) Yes, God could end abortion, but He has uniquely designed His people, the Church of Jesus Christ—that’s you and me—to act on His behalf!

He calls us—commands us even—to “speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Proverbs 22:8). The world is a vast mission field ripe for harvest, and we are the workers that God has appointed! The poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, the prisoners, those who mourn: each of these is “the one” for whom Jesus would leave the 99 in order to find! And every child—born or unborn—must be protected. We must speak for them, because they cannot speak for themselves.

Issue fatigue is common; it’s easy to grow discouraged and weary from the daunting challenges presented by abortion: life-and-death stakes, anemic resources, powerful global opposition. What can we do?

Well, we need to start by shifting our focus from the issue, to God. So what does that look like?

  1. Fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our Faith, not on the outcomes. 

    We are called to be faithful, which may not always mean “successful” in the eyes of the world.“Our God, will you not judge [the enemies of Israel]? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (Chronicles 20:12).

  2. We never know when the hill we’re climbing will be the last. 

    Pray for faith and endurance. Someday we will crest the last hill. Everyone struggles; we must choose to struggle well.“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).

  3. Recognize that Jesus is the light that has overcome all darkness.Walk in that victory!

    “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

  4. Put on the whole armor of God.We are in a spiritual battle every day, and the wicked one will do everything he can to discourage us from doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

    “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).

  5. Bear each other’s burdens. 

    Seek out a brother or sister who is serving the Lord, and let them know how much you appreciate them and respect what they are doing for the kingdom. Don’t be surprised by how God uses you through this simple encounter!“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). 

Whatever injustice and righteous anger we carry over the evil of abortion, I suspect that they are a mere shadow of that which our Heavenly Father bears. Let us be like Moses, who intervened on behalf of a wayward people to stay God’s hand of judgment against them. Let us wait on the Lord, fix our eyes on Jesus, roll up our sleeves, and tend to the harvest!

This post was originally published on January 19, 2016.

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