Psalm 139: 13-18 “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. 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. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God, they cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
This particular verse comes from a passage of scripture in Psalm 139 and is written by King David but is speaking truth about all of mankind. God has made each of us wonderfully complex and his work is marvelous…whether we are beautiful or smart or funny or successful…or not. He saw me as a human being before I was born. He knew me and loved me even then.
Whether we were loved by a host of family members awaiting our arrival or only by God, we were loved before we were ever born. That alone ascribes tremendous value to our lives. Then there is the idea of purpose…that he laid out each day for me to travel through in order to know Him and to grow in relationship with Him.
My original plan for this article was to write about the Roe vs. Wade controversy that has spanned nearly 50 years and how it relates to our faith. I have spent hours researching, reading, watching videos of differing Christian viewpoints, and spending time in prayer. This is where it has led me…Psalm 139. My heart was deeply troubled by a video I watched of a pastor in California who spoke on this particular scripture and used it as a way to validate her own abortion; she claims other Christians use Psalm 139 to manipulate a narrative that invokes shame for choosing an abortion. It was a flimsy twisting of God’s Word for the purpose of justifying her decision to have an abortion. When ending the life of her own child, she rationalized it with telling herself (and her congregation) that this scripture only describes a metaphysical life and she was just ending this child’s ‘story’, not a physical life.
I have ten years of personal experience working at the local pregnancy center and can genuinely say I have seen a great many situations where pregnancy was initially unplanned, but the woman’s mindset shifted into a place of acceptance and then embraced this new life. Once she is allowed to experience all her feelings, learn and consider what resources are available, sees through ultrasound what has already been formed in her womb, and finds hope in support by someone walking alongside her in the early years of parenting, she typically has a very different perspective of her situation.
My own personal life-story includes three unplanned pregnancies that were not initially welcomed by me because they created so much upheaval in the plans I had for my life. I never contemplated abortion, but at first I was stunned by each pregnancy, and it required a reframing of my life…one that I would not trade anything for now. I love my children and the life I had because of them. I learned from them and am still learning from what God is teaching me as a mother and a grandmother. He has also used my unplanned pregnancies to shape my life, my faith, my character, and many years of ministry.
Regardless of God restoring my career life during and after raising children, the fact remains that He wanted those other lives to exist. They each serve a purpose in this world and impact others in ways that He intends. It’s not my decision to “end that story” before it hardly begins, regardless of where that person exists (inside me) and regardless of how that person began (through violence or indiscretion or consent), and regardless of the wellness, fitness, ableness, and ‘wantedness’ of that person.
In continuing to debunk this pastor’s inaccurate interpretation of Psalm 139 I would venture to say that this passage most definitely is talking about a person’s physical being (“delicate inner parts of my body”, “knit me together in my mother’s womb”, “you watched me being formed”, “I’m wonderfully complex”, “woven together”…all the words indicate more than just metaphysics…and culminate in being “born”, which in this case is most clearly a physical birth, not a spiritual birth. To end this life in the womb, you must do something physical to keep it from continuing…you must have a chemical or surgical abortion. It’s not actually a metaphysical experience.
BUT, even if this was not the case, Roland Warren, the CEO of Care-Net, proposes that this idea of ending a metaphysical “story” that God set into motion is not our place as humans. What God sets in motion is not for us to arbitrarily end. The human race is collectively ending lives based on our HUMAN judgement of worth, value, convenience, timeliness, origination, and other variables. It is not our place to do so. We are not to put ourselves in the place of God.
Abortion, from a spiritual standpoint, is a grasp for control of our own lives based on our feelings, fears, and desires. Nobody wants to be told what is “right”. According to current culture, there is no right or wrong other than telling someone there IS a right and wrong based on God’s standards. We are like giant toddlers who cannot be told “no” or “wait” or “God has something better in mind for you”. We are demanding our own way and have cleverly interpreted scripture based on our experience of the world rather than interpreting our world based on scripture.
I don’t need to know the reasons this pastor chose an abortion. Regardless of her reason, God knew that forming individual from the moment he or she was conceived and loved that person and planned for him or her to have a particular kind of life. He also planned to bless this pastor with a child and to steer her life in unexpected ways that would have the potential to soften and shape her into a more beautiful reflection of Him, but she deceived herself and grievously misled her congregation with the twisting of Psalm 139 to validate her experience. She snuffed out the sacred life of one of God’s most precious gifts to her. She molded the Word of God to become what she wanted it to be…possibly so that her conscience could be clear and she could feel good about ending a life through an abortion that she herself said caused her to “grieve”, that required “comforting her wounds”, and that she referred to as “one of her darkest hours”.
Even more ironic to me was that she wore a large pin that said “Black Lives Matter” (which they most certainly do!) while preaching about ending the life of her own child and how God found abortion to be equally as sacred as birth. I have to stand up against this false teaching that says Psalm 139 is only talking about a metaphysical story rather than an actual life. I pray her misleading interpretation does not take root to deceive many.