The sidewalk counselors with Love Life wear a team shirt that says “Hope is here” on the front and “Help is here” on the back. Whenever I wear that shirt in public, it evokes questions. Following the Love Life Washington conference, I spent a few days in Seattle with my sister. We hiked portions of Mount Rainier. Since I had my sun-blocking Love Life long sleeve shirt with me, I wore that to hike.
Seattle, and Washington in general, is a very liberal place. There are many people who do not follow or believe in God. I love my sister very much, and we share a profound love of nature and hiking and outdoor sports. However, we are light years apart spiritually. On this trip, as always, I prayed for open doors to show her the truth and beauty of Jesus.
On our last hike, we decided to hike up the path that would get us as close as possible to the glacier on the upper half of Rainier. There were few people out on the gorgeous, unseasonably sunny, and warm Tuesday. As we were hiking down from the highest point we had reached, halfway up the mountain, we met a couple on their way up to that same lovely outlook point.
The woman pointed to my shirt, and as so often happens, said, “Hope is here. Hmmmm. Where is hope?”
I love this question, but in a liberal enclave like Washington, I know my explanation is likely to be met with outright derision, or stony silence. Nonetheless, like Jeremiah, the truth is a fire that burns in my bones if I do not speak.
So I answered her. “Hope is in God alone. I serve in a ministry called Love Life. We equip and mobilize the church to address the abortion crisis so women will run to the church rather than abortion centers. I am on the sidewalks of abortion centers urging women to choose life and offering help from the local church to make that choice easier.”
Her face was a mask at first, and I expected the usual scornful anger I often see in abortion destinations like Washington. Instead, she almost cried and flung her arms around my neck. She clung to me, hugging me hard, saying, “Bless you! Bless you!”
As she pulled away, I said, “You are believers.”
Her husband and she nodded vigorously. The man pointed to his backpack and said it had prayers, notebooks, and a Bible in it. They were hiking the mountain to the spot we had just left. Yom Kippur began at sunset. The day of atonement. They planned to sit on the mountain outlook, pray to God, and read scripture. We discussed how one of the things our nation needed to atone for was the grievous sin of abortion. We spoke of the redemptive power and forgiveness of Jesus, but the absolute necessity of repentance.
The man had recently been laid off from work. They were an older couple. They did not know what God would have them do now. So they prayed. They heard God tell them to GO, but not where. So they sold their house, packed their belongings, and were traveling to national parks to see God in His glorious creation. They trusted He would tell them in His perfect time where He wanted them to go.
Then, this Godly couple began sharing in beautiful detail the entire Gospel. My sister is kind and respectful and had little choice but to listen. I gave the couple my card, and told them to research Love Life. Perhaps God was telling them to go THERE. To further cause my sister to take notice of this divine encounter, their names were Destiny and Matthew.
We traveled on and met up with another couple as we entered a flat section of meadow. They had just seen a black fox which had run along the path towards us. They asked if we saw it. We had not, regrettably! Then the woman pointed at my shirt.
Again, the question: “Hope is here. Where is hope?”
I smiled at my sister. I repeated the explanation I had shared with the first couple. They nodded, and again to my surprise, seemed glad to hear of Love Life. They had started a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Washington many years ago and were now on the board of that center. They were so happy to hear of the recent Love Life conference and the drive to bring more Christian sidewalk outreach to Washington abortion centers. They loved God, and that was the motivation for their life’s work.
Then the woman told us that they hiked Rainier often. If fact, her husband had SUMMITTED the very challenging peak SEVEN times. The last time had been when he turned 70 years old. I knew my sister would deeply respect such an amazing feat. Maybe she would ponder more seriously the ONE in whom they hoped. I praised God for the message of HOPE that had been clearly transmitted in such an unlikely place.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.