Working on the streets everyday and showing the truth about abortion with victim photography, I receive many different reactions from people. Some are angry, others sad, and a few that are indifferent.

There are also those such as today, when I spoke with two bright young men who thought abortion was wrong – sometimes. As our conversation progressed, the scales began to fall from their eyes, and the reality of abortion started to reveal itself. What remained obscure to them, however, was the inherent dignity each person possesses – the pair believed that if someone was suffering, then that person has a right to end their life.

They told me that they thought it would be acceptable for a parent to end the life of their five-year-old child if he was in some amount of physical pain and given only weeks or a year to live. To them, a suffering person has little reason to keep living, and moments of happiness are not worth pain. They failed to understand what joy such a person may have if they choose to. It is not what sufferings we have that define us, but rather how we choose to deal with them.

I had a similar conversation with an elderly woman, who told me that abortion was wrong unless the child had some type of handicap or disease. In that case, she thought it might even be a mercy to kill the child before he was born. I was struck by the implications of her viewpoint – to say that someone does not have the same right to life as someone else, simply because of their level of capability, is truly a poverty. As we continued talking, I discovered that in the future, if she lost her ability to function independently, she intended to commit assisted suicide.

She admitted that her loved ones had made it evident that once she became too much of a burden for them, they did not want her around anymore. I bet not one of them thought to ask her how she felt about offing herself when the time came – she did not actually want to. It seems that nowadays we have accepted the idea that personal convenience outweighs the inherent dignity of every human being. 

I ask myself; how can we justify these mentalities to ourselves – that suffering, or our level of functioning, determines how much our life is worth? People have forgotten the purpose of life; they have forgotten God and Christianity; and this is the result. Killing our children, killing our elderly, and killing those who suffer. I must say, if I were standing on a bridge preparing to jump, I hope someone would talk me down. Not to take me to a doctor who can do it “quick and painless,” but rather to show me that my life is sacred and that there is meaning in living despite suffering. Doesn’t every person suffer to some extent, and shouldn’t we want people to see the beauty and joy in living amidst pain?

This is not to minimize suffering – I know it is not easy. I have encountered enough of it in the past few months. I have seen the pain in the woman who had an abortion and cannot go back, in the man who seethed with rage at the abuse women he cared for had experienced, in the mother whose child died before she was able to hold him, and the young man who wished his mother aborted him instead of his brother. I felt the ache of a family breaking apart, shared the sorrow of those wounded by those they loved most, and cried on the shoulders of others.

I sobbed at the millions of tiny souls whose lives were snuffed out before they had a chance to be loved, for the mothers who must live with the pain of killing their children, for the emptiness of those desperate for a love they are unable to find on their own. Yet, I have found comfort and forgiveness at the foot of Christ’s cross. It is in God that our souls find rest, and only He can restore us to hope, only He who is capable of healing and forgiving our wounds.

To the woman who aborted her child, I am sorry they presented this as a solution to your problem, and I mourn for the death of the precious little one whom you never got to love. God loves you, and He can forgive you for your part in your child’s death – all you must have is the courage to implore His grace.

To the elderly lady whose family did not love her as they ought; never give up hope. Know that you are worth everything to God, you are why He sacrificed His beloved Son on the Cross, and you were created in His image and to glorify Him. Though people may fail you, the Father never will.

To the young men that thought death was better than suffering: I plead with you not to believe the lie that a life with pain is a life unworthy of living. Rather, difficulties only make us stronger, enable us to relate to others’ grief, and make us more like Christ – the one who suffered more than we can ever imagine.

The cross is not without redemption and suffering for God not without reward, whether we receive it in this life or the next. So, I encourage you, take heart, have courage and hope in the future, that amid suffering you may find joy.

“…and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’”

Revelation 21:3-5

One thought on “Joy Amidst Suffering

  1. KP says:

    I really wish that religion wasn’t a part of this article. The argument is so much stronger when it doesn’t rely on religious beliefs that aren’t shared by everyone. I am an atheist who is strongly against abortion. I should be one of your sympathetic readers, but the religious emphasis is off-putting to me. Obviously it’s valid as your personal perspective, but I don’t think it’s the kind of angle that CCBR should be broadcasting because it undermines the credibility of the organization. I do appreciate your work advocating for the unborn and working to change people’s minds through conversation. Thank you for that.

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