A miracle on Commonwealth
By Steve Lopez
Normally one or two pro lifers show up with their signs and their prayers. Today the parking lot was already half filled by the time the first pro lifer arrived. It’s easy to get discouraged and today looked like it was going to be another long night… but that is not what God had planned. Today was going to be different because the silent cries of the unborn were not only heard by God, but there was a response by his faithful servants.
Their names are not as important as their mission, but maybe you know them? Chaney, Avery, Martha, Christina, Steve, Katarina, and Lauren all gave up their evening to serve God on a very special night. A night that would reveal the weakness of men and the strength of God.
It started when Martha walked up the abortion clinic driveway which is shared by an accountant’s office next door and stood on the edge of the accountant’s grass. She invited the others to join her and quickly they formed what appeared to my eyes to be a pro life line of defense. The previous week the accountant had given Martha permission to stand on his land to reach out to mothers and fathers considering abortion. The clinic staff were furious and had been complaining about the presence of persistent pro lifers who refused to walk away or give ground.
And today was no different. The clinic staff came out and Martha told them they had permission to be there, but the permission wasn’t simply from the accountant. Pro lifers had answered the call long before that accountant knew of their existence. Their permission was of a spiritual nature — they had permission from God who calls us to serve in Him a fallen world on the sidewalk and driveway of an abortion clinic that to the untrained eye looks like an ordinary house.
The staff didn’t take matters into their own hands just yet… instead they decided to call the police.
And soon four police cruisers were on site, but those courageous pro lifers didn’t surrender. Instead they all knelt and began to pray. It was beautiful to see courage in the face of conflict. The headlights of one of the police cars was shining on them as passersby in cars craned their necks to see what was going on in the abortuary parking lot, but those police headlights did not shine nearly as brightly as the light of God’s spirit in that parking lot.
That spiritual light burned so bright that not even the abortionist could ignore it. And we’re not talking about just any abortionist.
The abortuary is owned by Dr. William Fitzhugh who has been performing abortions across the state of Virginia for decades and has been a leading advocate for partial birth abortion, even going so far as to be a named plaintiff in a federal lawsuit to keep partial birth abortion legal. Last year his clinics stole the lives of 3,733 innocent Virginians … 415 were babies from the Charlottesville community.
The clinic staff were hoping the police would solve their problem and remove these pro lifers from the premises.
The police called the accountant to confirm that he had given the pro lifers permission to stand on his property — not only did they have permission to stand on the grass but according to the police the dividing line was the middle of the driveway! The pro lifers could now stand even closer than they had imagined. As time wore on post abortive mothers and fathers began to walk toward their cars with pro lifers praying and holding signs closer than they had ever been in the history of the spiritual battle for life in Charlottesville. They were so close they could see the pain and the shame in the eyes of the mothers and fathers.
Those moms and dads were told that God loved them and could heal them. They were told about ministries that were waiting for them such as Rachel’s Vineyard.
This would have been a miraculous night if nothing else happened, but God was just getting warmed up. The doctor who had ignored too many pro lifers to count was suddenly acutely aware of their presence outside of his clinic. He walked out of the abortuary in scrubs and stood on the back porch of the house where thousands upon thousands of innocent lives have been stolen and looked at the pro lifers who could be seen from the back porch for the first time in his career aborting babies in Charlottesville.
And then Dr. Fitzhugh heard the same words he’d been hearing for weeks, “It’s not too late to change!”
But unlike all of those other days when he dismissed the pro lifers and went about his grisly work, today he responded to those words and walked toward them. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that?”
“It’s not too late too change!”
He shook his head and walked closer still, “I didn’t catch that?”
“It’s not too late to change!”
Closer and closer… and the words were repeated over and over until he was face-to-face with the pro lifers who were still standing there late into the night.
“You shouldn’t be bullying people out here!” Dr. Fitzhugh said with as much courage as he could muster, but he wasn’t dealing with his office staff or lukewarm Christians. He was standing nose-to-nose with servants of God who were sent to rescue the unborn, their parents, and him.
He was shown the picture of a baby in the womb and reminded that his job is to dismember babies who are defenseless against him and that is the definition of a bully. “I’m not a bully! I’m here to help women.” He retorted.
Dr. Fitzhugh, like so many other misguided physicians, has deluded himself into believing that abortion is good for women. Even when it was pointed out that a woman had left his clinic five minutes ago who was obviously in great pain and suffering he didn’t break from the script. A few moments later he was presented with another more powerful example when he was asked about a young Muslim man who was in his clinic last week begging and pleading with his girlfriend to spare their baby. That young man had come out three times to talk to the pro lifers who did their best to encourage him and told him to go in back in and rescue his child and tell his girlfriend that God loved her and that he loved her too.
We never shared that story because it was so painful.
When that young man drove into the clinic parking lot the look in his eyes are forever etched in my memory. I don’t know if words can adequately capture it, but I imagine it’s how I would look if I were lost at sea and drifting on an old piece of wood after giving up any hope of rescue — and then opening my eyes and seeing the distant outline of land. Hope… that is what I saw in his eyes.
He didn’t even bother to go into the clinic — he went straight to the pro lifers who were standing on the sidewalk and in tears he asked if they thought he was going to hell. He stated that he knew his girlfriend was going to hell, but he wasn’t sure if he would go there since he had tried everything to save his baby. He took all of the pro lifers literature and listened to their suggestions and went into clinic three times to save his baby.
And three times he came out unsuccessful and frustrated. I remember the sound of the abortuary door slamming shut after his third attempt and the look of disgust on his face as he sat on the steps and pondered the impending death of his baby. I was also feeling frustrated that nothing was working. Earlier in the day a pro lifer said with 100% confidence, “We don’t have to worry… God has this one under control. I don’t know why… but he does… it’s going to work out.”
I wanted to believe it, but after the third time I was running out of words. To be honest, I was running out of hope. I thought about risking getting arrested and going into the abortuary myself and talking to his girlfriend directly. Maybe if I could look into her eyes she would know that her baby would be cared for even if it was a complete stranger. I asked God for a special intervention… even though I knew that God loves all of his children equally and is no respecter of persons.
I wanted to tell the world about the miracle of a young man who had friends he had never met waiting for him at the abortuary. I wanted to see the smile on his face and her face… but that’s not what happened. He went in a fourth time and we waited, and waited, but he never came out again. Finally we went home disappointed that we didn’t get to see a miracle that night, but we knew there would be other nights — even if we would never be able to erase the memory of a young man desperately trying to save his baby with the help of pro lifers who were praying and advocating with every gift God had given them.
I walked away that night convinced that somehow we had failed that Muslim boy. The last words I heard him say was that he wanted her to suffer for what she was about to do to their child.
And now we were staring at the doctor who stole that child’s life and played a role in destroying the relationship of a mother and father. I wanted to hear his justification for hurting a man who was powerless to save his child, but I wasn’t prepared for his answer.
“I know exactly who you’re talking about… she didn’t have an abortion that night. She changed her mind.”
Dr. Fitzhugh had no idea what he had just told us. Long after we had given up and gone home to begin the grieving process and question our inability to win the victory — God was still there fighting. And God was victorious.
This abortion story captures the weakness of men. Even when we’re told God has it under control we still manage to see the all ways that it cannot happen. How it’s just not possible. But God is faithful to the very last possible moment even after every human effort up to that point has failed.
The spiritual battle surrounding abortion is just another shining example of how God is triumphant.
“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” – Matt. 19:26