Yesterday, Jan. 22, was National Sanctity of Human Life Day; this day marks the historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. When President Reagan decreed the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day on Jan. 13, 1984, he wrote, “The values and freedoms we cherish as Americans rest on our fundamental commitment to the sanctity of human life. The first of the ‘unalienable rights’ affirmed by our Declaration of Independence is the right to life itself, a right the Declaration states has been endowed by our Creator on all human beings — whether young or old, weak or strong, healthy or handicapped.”
On Jan. 22, 2009, the Center for Pregnancy Choices, a local nonprofit, was opened. This opening date was chosen to underscore their support of the sanctity of human life. They, along with others, hold to the importance of standing up and affirming that all life has value. The Center’s mission is to not only assist women facing an unplanned pregnancy with information on birth options and adoption, but to also offer material support (baby clothing, diapers) and parenting classes. They also offer instruction in schools and community groups for teens about healthy relationships.
The recognition that all life is sacred did not originate with President Reagan or the Declaration of Independence. The Bible tells us that all life is sacred because it comes from God. Warren Wierbse writes, “What we think about God and our relationship to Him determines what we think about everything else that makes up our busy world—other people, the universe, God’s Word, God’s will, sin, faith, and obedience.” Psalm 139 offers two ways in which we see God’s hand in giving life.
First, David says that it is God who gives us life, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.” (Psalm 139:13-15) How does knowing that God formed you, knit you together in your mother’s womb, impact you?
I realize that this simple question can bring with it a number of harder questions. And while those questions are important and it is difficult to find the answers we desire, we can rest in the assurance that His work is marvelous. We only need to hold an infant in our arms to be filled with awe and wonder for the life that God has given them. Seeing how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” should naturally result in our giving praise to the giver of all life.
Second, recognizing God’s work in giving life, David testifies of the relationship that God has with us, how He knows us more fully than we know ourselves, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:16)
Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered about what you see? Does the image cause you to agree that you are wonderfully made? If not, it’s likely due to a failure to comprehend the wonder expressed in these verses. We are more than the reflection in a mirror; David declares that God formed us for a purpose. Before we were born, God already knew our days. This is one of the reasons why we know that the lives of the unborn matter. Why? Because God knows us before we breathe our first breath.
I long for those who will face an unexpected pregnancy this year to know two things. First, know that God loves you and that there is hope for you and your child in what may seem to be a hopeless circumstance. Second, there is help. If you have questions, need a pregnancy test, or are looking for support and a listening ear, then contact The Center for Pregnancy Choices in Logan, or the Pregnancy Care Center in Brigham City, or the Journey Clinic in Ogden. These non-profits are waiting to provide you with the hope and help you need.
Please join us in recognizing that every life matters. Offer help, support and encouragement to those facing decisions concerning an unplanned pregnancy. Also, if you or someone you know is carrying the pain of a past abortion, encourage them to find a support group at one of these centers. Remember, every life is sacred.
Eldon Peterson is pastor of the Cache Valley Bible Fellowship. His column appears on the Faith page. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.