Pastor Dan Schmidt serves at Palabra de Vida, a cross cultural WELS Home Mission congregation, in Detroit, Michigan.
It was around 5:30pm on a Tuesday night. I was packing up my belongings and heading out of the church when a young Hispanic man walked in asking about our English classes. I gave him a flyer and explained when the classes would be held and as always mentioned that our two goals were to help people learn more English and, more importantly, to learn more about God.
The young man then looked at me and asked, “Are you a pastor here? Do you have some time to talk?” This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked these questions but what came next wasn’t what I was expecting.
We sat down in my office and he proceeded to tell me that his sister had committed adultery, was pregnant with another man’s child and was planning on getting an abortion that same Friday. The appointment was already set. This young man’s conscience was killing him. He knew that what his sister was going to do wasn’t right. It was wrong on so many levels but he convinced himself that whatever she decided to do, he had to support her.
I listened and at the same time silently asked God to give me wisdom. I knew that this wasn’t a random chance meeting. God was orchestrating a rescue mission to save an unborn child and his mother. Thankfully our Seminary prepares us to correctly use God’s Law and Gospel. This was a moment where God’s Law needed to be applied. I told that young man that he couldn’t support his sister’s decision. She was going to murder her innocent child and he had to tell her so. He couldn’t let her pretend like it wasn’t a big deal. It truly was a matter of life and death. Encouraged by God’s Word and prayer, he left my office and went to talk with his sister one last time to convince her not to make the worst decision of her life.
That car ride home that Tuesday evening was a long one. I felt helpless but also compelled to ask God’s people to pray. Multiple congregational members made it a point that evening to pray for both the mother and child. The next morning I had the opportunity to lead chapel at our local Area Lutheran High School. We prayed that God would give this woman heavenly wisdom… and he did!
That morning her brother called me and said she would be willing to meet with me. We set a meeting time for 12:30pm and there I sat in my office waiting expectantly. It was now 12:45pm and she still hadn’t showed up. It doesn’t do any good to worry so I called her brother to find out if she was still on her way. Moments later she arrived with her toddler and the young man who was the father of the unborn child.
They sat in my office and the young man admitted that what they had done was wrong and the pregnancy was a consequence of their sin. But he was willing to take responsibility for his actions and raise the child if given the opportunity. The woman, though, wasn’t so thrilled about the concept of bringing this unwanted child into the world. The child, she thought, would ruin her life. It would expose her infidelity. It would ruin her reputation amongst her family and friends. It was better, in her mind, to cover up one sin with another. She was determined to abort her unborn child.
She used the word “abort”. I used the word “murder” and I used it no less than 20 times to drill it into her mind that even though what she planned on doing was legal and affordable, it was wrong. To drive the point home, I pulled a scissors out of my desk draw and asked her if she’d be willing to kill me with it. She shook her head “no”. When I asked, “Why not?” she didn’t respond. I then pulled out a picture of an 8 week old baby in its mother’s womb and explained that what she wasn’t willing to do to me she was willing to do to her own child.
I then walked both of them through that mess of a story about King David and Bathsheba. Although we all wish that King David hadn’t committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband Uriah, we can be thankful that God had that account written in Scripture because it’s a wonderful example of why we don’t want to try to cover over our sins with other sins. By the end of that powerful story, the young lady, through tears, promised that she wouldn’t kill her baby.
Just a few days after that, she called me from a clinic. It was a bad telephone connection and I couldn’t hear her very well. Immediately I assumed that she had changed her mind and had gone to an abortion clinic. My heart sank. As the signal became stronger, she assured me that she wasn’t at an abortion clinic! In fact she was getting blood drawn to make sure everything was going well with the child and getting the prenatal vitamins. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
She also informed me that she confessed her sin to her husband and is working to reconcile her relationship with him through the power of Jesus Christ. Absolutely nothing is impossible with God!