I had walked up the street to try and encourage abortion-minded women to stop and speak with me before reaching the fracas at the entrance to the abortion center. There were two construction workers leaning against their truck right where I was going to position myself. They asked me right away what was going on down the street.
I told them it was the busiest abortion center in the Southeast. They were shocked.
“Tucked away where no one even knows it is here,” said one man.
I told them who we were and what we were doing at the abortion center sidewalk. “We are a ministry called Love Life who believes that the unborn child is precious, made in God‘s holy image, and that God would never have any mother destroy her child. So we are offering hope and help.”
Then I asked if they believed in God
One of the workers said that he did. “Jesus is my Lord and savior,” he said. The second worker had been looking down the whole time that I was speaking, and now said, “Well, I do have a problem with God. My wife of 38 years just died of Covid.”
I told him I was so sorry to hear that and that I could totally understand if right now he was asking why God had allowed that to happen. He was pretty choked up and couldn’t even speak, but he nodded. I told him I didn’t know why God allowed bad things to happen.
“I do know that because we live in a sinful world, sin has corrupted God’s perfect plan and ends up causing death and destruction in its wake. But I also know that God is no stranger to the pain of separation from loved ones.”
I talked about what Jesus did on the cross, and how God the Father had to endure what happened to his only begotten Son. Jesus had to endure the separation for the first time ever from the close relationship with his Father.
Then the man told me that his wife had been the best person he knew; a really good person. I told him I was sure that she was wonderful, but that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. There’s only one person who never sinned and that was Jesus. We all deserve Hell.
He nodded. “I know I am going to Hell for sure. I cannot be forgiven.”
I asked him why he believed he could not be forgiven. He said he was in the army for 20 years and had killed many people. “I have murdered,” he said. “It really messed me up. I did drugs and alcohol to try to deal with it.”
I tried to explain the difference between a national army protecting its citizens in war and cold blooded murder of innocent people. He shook his head, tears in his eyes.
I said if his heart was convicting him of any sin, the Bible says we can repent and ask God’s forgiveness. Then, as Romans 10:9 reminds us, if we proclaim with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved. We will be forgiven and our sin will be cast away as far as the East is from the West. His eyes were red-rimmed and teary right now, but there was longing in his expression.
“But I cannot forgive myself,” he said wearily.
Then I asked him if the God who created this universe and gives him every breath has forgiven him, how could he have the audacity not to forgive himself? Did he know better than God? Was Jesus’ death and resurrection wasted in his case? Why did Jesus die if His forgiveness was based on whether we forgave ourselves or not? And then I shared the Gospel and how this was the only path to true restoration with God and to true forgiveness.
He listened. So did his friend, who I suspect had never known that this man was struggling so much. They both thanked me and said they had to go on to the next job now. The man who said he knew the Lord had already gladly accepted our literature with my name and number on the back. “I have your number now and I’m very grateful for what you’ve told us,” he said.
“I will think about what you’ve said,” the other man said. They drove away.
This was a divine appointment. These sorts of encounters happen frequently when the Church is on mission for God. He sends us to the sidewalk so that babies will be saved and conflicted women will be restored to God. However, sometimes He sends us other people, like this man, who are deeply wounded. They also need to hear the truth about the only possible real peace and comfort available on earth. I was so grateful that I was there for that moment and for that sorrowful man. May God be glorified and may His word transform that man’s heart.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.