I have to preface this post with this prayer from The Valley of Vision:
Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find Thy mind in Thy Word, of neglect to seek Thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, but I bless Thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do Thou rule over me in liberty and power.
I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness. Go on with Thy patient work, answering 'no' to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it. Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Thy rule. I thank Thee for Thy wisdom and Thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject, for sometimes putting me into the furnace to refine my gold and remove my dross.
No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin. If Thou shouldst give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give me sanctified affliction.
May I also ask, Lord, for you to give me the words to express the burden on my heart…to put aside my selfishness and write what is true…what is edifying…what glorifies you.
A couple of months ago my church had a time of teaching and prayer on the topic of abortion. Needless to say, it was a very emotional time. It was also a monumental day for me, as it was the first time I ever brought any word or prayer before the whole congregation. I remember sitting in my chair, praying and then suddenly I heard a word, and a phrase from scripture (though I wasn’t certain until I looked it up). My heart started pounding and I knew I had to go…so I did. The word the Lord gave me was very different from what He was saying to everyone else. Most of the other words and prayer was centered on the mothers and the unborn…mine was for the men. Specifically, that the Lord would do a work in the hearts of men…raise up a generation of men that would make abortion unnecessary.
Just typing that, I can feel that burden again.
Let me say that I know it “takes two to tango” and if there are two people involved in any situation there are two sinners to contend with. However, I also believe that if men are men…men as God defines them and designed them to be…they set the tone for the relationship, and lead and protect the woman. Their leadership can prevent “unwanted” pregnancies and, hence, abortion.
Men being men will also prevent another rising epidemic in society…single motherhood.
Recently, I went to the home of a woman who was babysitting for my nieces. She is single, with a teenage daughter who has a 2 year-old son. Both are single parents…neither of the fathers are around. My sister-in-law had her first child at 17 with a man whom she found out later had many other children with many other girls. Her sister had her first child at 14. Their father left the family shortly after she (and the other two triplets) were born. None of these men contributed to the support or raising of their children.
Not a day goes by when I don’t see some example of this…and can’t help asking over and again…“Where are all the men?”
As a single woman, that question has a slightly different meaning to me - an admittedly somewhat selfish meaning - and effects my life a bit differently. But whatever selfishness there is in me, there is also a godly desire for that which God desires and ordained from the beginning. That which I lack…that which I see so many lacking.
God designed them to lead, because WE need to be led. He designed them to provide so that we could create a home. He designed them to be protectors, because we NEED protection. And he designed woman to help him, because one can’t do it alone.
Admittedly, men do have the greater burden. He is commanded to love his wife as Christ loved the church and lay his life down for her. He is responsible for supporting and providing for a wife and their children, which pretty much amounts to handing over his paycheck to someone else. And he accomplishes this by spending the bulk of his day AWAY from the family, which can lead to conflict. So, ladies, mothers are not the only ones called to be selfless.
Perhaps this call is exactly why so many men seem capable of the excessive selfishness which leads to abandonment and abortion. It is a heavy mantle, especially when the woman isn’t shouldering hers. The two have to work together to be successful.
Let me also say, that I am privileged to know MANY families that are successful. Many men who are family-oriented…who put their own hobbies and wants aside for the sake of their kids…who actually enjoy being with them more than they do X-box or fishing or watching TV. It is a joy to know them and see the fruit of their devotion and obedience to the Lord in their call as husbands and fathers. It gives me hope for the next generation.
What also gives me hope is that God knows and has a perfect plan even for the sin which has resulted in single-motherhood or extended singleness in men and women. And his intention is for our respective sanctification and His glory. How gracious of him to intend good and blessing even when it would seem that our own sin or someone else’s has doomed us or permanently altered the plan. And how good to know that there is NO SUCH THING as an altered plan when there is a sovereign, omniscient and kind God!
Lord, I do lift us these missing men…these men that by their absence or lack create teenage mothers, necessitate abortions, burden the welfare department. I know there is forgiveness and that you are bigger…AND that you intend even the worst of these circumstances for the good. Raise up men who will be men…who will honor you in their choices…who will step up and put on the mantle you have ordained for them. Also, make us women receptive to their response…submissive to their leadership…and prepare us to be the helpers you created us to be.