I recently read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It is a heartbreaking tale that clearly portrays the evil of slavery. Stowe’s work opened the eyes of a nation to the great evil they caused by sins of commission and omission. The convictions Stowe portrayed in her characters were extremely diverse. There were hard-hearted, wicked men like Simon Legree who had no qualms with beating slaves to the point of death. There were selfish women like Marie St. Clare who never lifted a finger and believed that the evil of slavery was in the hardships on the owners. There were men like Mrs. St. Clare’s husband, Augustine, who did not like slavery, but did not dislike it enough to seek any change. Mr. St. Clare believed that there was nothing he could do – even if he freed his slaves, slavery would not end. Stowe condemned this attitude as no better than the attitudes of those who loved slavery and selfish gain. Stowe illustrated that disliking an evil practice is not enough to truly be against it. Slavery was not a necessary evil. It was simply an evil. So is abortion.
The murder of innocent unborn children is a great evil in our country. Today 18 women walked into the abortion clinic in Louisville, KY with the intent of allowing their children to be killed. Unless the Lord intervenes and changes their hearts, 18 children will be killed today – with full consent of their mothers and their government. What can any one person do in the face of such great evil and tragedy when it is perfectly legal? Will the actions of one person have any effect? These questions are perilous and deceptive – they are questions Satan wants us to be paralyzed by, as Augustine St. Clare was in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Maybe we won’t see the end of abortion in our lifetime, but the end of abortion is coming! One day, sin and suffering will finally cease. This is the end towards which we are working – in all aspects of life. We will not see the end of sin in this life, but one day, Christ will return, and gather his sheep, and all sin, including abortion will be swallowed up in the victory of Christ. This gives great incentive and hope to believers to fight sin in their hearts and in the world.
David Powlison, in his book Speaking Truth in Love, stated that the church, on the whole, is far from truly wise counseling ministry. This may seem to be a discouraging fact – as is the prominence of abortion and hardness of heart towards this sin – but what Powlison said about counseling ministry holds true for abortion as well. “What must we do now? Jesus calls us to row in the right direction, however far away the destination seems. Let’s aim right and look towards the right ends. Jesus Christ will complete us together in the maturity of his wisdom.” Even though the task seems hopeless, let us labor together for the glory and praise of Christ. Let us labor in prayer and in speaking the truth in love, looking towards that glorious day when sin shall cease forever!
Let us plead with mothers to be like Eliza Harris, another character in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Eliza was a beautiful, young slave woman owned by a kind and benevolent master. But, a situation arose which caused her to run. She raced to the Ohio River in the dead of winter with a slave trader close on her heals. This is the story of her escape:
In that dizzy moment her feet to her scarce seemed to touch the ground, and a moment brought her to the water’s edge. Right on behind they came; and, nerved with strength such as God gives only to the desperate, with one wild cry and flying leap, she vaulted sheer over the turbid current by the shore, on to the raft of ice beyond. It was a desperate leap – impossible to anything but madness and despair; and Haley, Sam, and Andy instinctively cried out, and lifted up their hands, as she did it.
The huge green fragment of ice on which she alighted pitched and creaked as her weight came on it, but she staid there not a moment. With wild cries and desperate energy she leaped to another and still another cake; – stumbling – leaping – slipping – springing upwards again! Her shoes are gone – her stockings cut from her feet – while blood marked every step; but she saw nothing, felt nothing, till dimly, as in a dream, she saw the Ohio side, and a man helping her up the bank (Stowe, 88).
What could have caused Eliza to risk her life in leaping from ice cake to ice cake on the Ohio River in order to escape a kind master? Her son. Eliza’s son Harry had been sold down south when their benevolent master ran into some financial hardship. Everything Eliza did was for the sake of protecting the life of her precious son, and, according to the Concluding Remarks at the end of the novel, the “incident of the mother’s crossing the Ohio river on the ice is a well-known fact” (Stowe, 564). Oh that all mothers of unborn children would love their precious sons and daughters with the same love Eliza displayed for her son! May we all be so desperate to protect life! It may be hard, even dangerous, but Jesus promises not only to save all those who call upon him in faith and repentance, but to care for them (Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Peter 5:6-11). God will never forsake those who obey him. Let us plead with the Lord for this kind of love in ourselves for those who are dying, and may we look back on his work and say with Eliza, “The Lord helped me; nobody knows how much the Lord can help ‘em, till they try” (Stowe, 118).