"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!" Psalm 139:13-17
Over the past few days, the news channels and the internet has been covering a shocking story. A hunter went to Zimbabwe, and with the help of supposed professional guides killed a beloved lion, Cecil. I am not here to cast any kind of judgment on anyone involved. I don't know the entire story. My opinion is simple: If this hunt was illegal in any way, then someone should be held accountable for this senseless and vile act. However, what is more shocking to me than the story itself is the overwhelming response this story has gotten at all. Sometimes the things we fight for confuse me. Again, my option is that what happened to this lion in Zimbabwe is wrong. What confuses me, through, is that it seems like the entire world is standing up for the life and the death of a lion. Zimbabwe is over 8,000 miles away from me in Louisiana. Until this story made headlines, I never knew who Cecil the lion was. Trophy hunting has been around for many, many years. People are arrested year after year for illegal hunting activities, including poaching and taking of endangered species. Let me make this very clear: I do believe that those who hunt illegally should be arrested and held accountable for their actions. I do believe we need to protect the rights of these animals and the countries in which they find natural habitat.
What really confuses me about this entire story is that we are fighting for the life and the death of a lion 8,000 miles away that we never knew existed before this story. According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 40 to 50 million abortions of human life every year. That means that yesterday alone there were an estimated 125,000 abortions of human life. In the Unites States, it is estimated that there are over 3,000 abortions of human life each day. The WHO says that 22% of all pregnancies in the United States end in abortion. Yet, we have spent the last three or four days fighting for the life and the death of a lion in Zimbabwe. Sometimes the things we fight for confuse me. The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:26-28 that we are created by God in His image, and we are given purpose and blessing to live by God. Psalm 139:13-17 tells us that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by the Creator. He knew us before our bodies were even formed in the womb. The life and the death that we should be fighting for is the life and the death of the thousands of children who aborted each and every day in our world. God loves us so much, and God wants us to have a full and eternal life. He gave His only Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and to die a sacrificial death so that we could have full and eternal life. God's Word tells us in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 1 Timothy 2:1-6, Paul says, "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time." We should be fighting for the lives of those who can't yet fight for themselves. We should be fighting for the lives of children, created by God in the image of God with purpose and blessing. Abortion is wrong. We should make sure that people know the truth, and we should believe and know that the truth will set them free. If you have made the decision in the past to have an abortion or are considering abortion today, please know that I am not attacking you. I am merely attacking the decision of abortion. Sin is sin, and we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). Gossip is sin. Stealing is sin. Murder is sin. Coveting is sin. There are many sins. James 2:10 says, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." We are all sinners, and we all need the grace of God and the forgiveness of God. We all need Jesus, the Savior of the world. Peter called all people to repentance in his letters in the Bible. Peter understood what is was like to be a sinner in need of God's grace. Peter understood what it was like to embrace forgiveness and love through Jesus Christ, the one he denied three times before. In 2 Peter 1:3-4, he said, "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
We have a choice today. We can choose to embrace God's way or we can choose to embrace the world's way. We can choose to live in the way of godliness and righteousness that has been given to us through Jesus Christ or we can choose to live in our own selfish and evil way. We can choose to cling to and live in the promises of God. What are some of the promises of God? God promises new life through Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). God promises forgiveness and cleansing through Jesus (1 John 1:9). God promises full life through Jesus (John 10:10). God promises eternal life in heaven through Jesus (John 3:16). Let's make sure that we are fighting for things that truly make a difference in eternity. Let's fight for the heart of our King, for the repentance and salvation of anyone and everyone we encounter today and each day forward. Believe this today: YOU ARE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD!