- Eldon Peterson
Finding Hope in the Unplanned
The local non-profit the Center for Pregnancy Choices (The Center) is celebrating 11 years of caring for women facing unplanned pregnancies. The community is invited to a meet and greet Ice Cream Social at Cache Valley Bible Fellowship on Saturday January 25 at 6:30. The mission of The Center is to offer direction, growth, freedom and care by giving life affirming options to those facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Unplanned is a powerful word. It’s an adjective meaning, “not expected or intended.” An unplanned pregnancy can bring emotions ranging from fear to joy depending on a variety of circumstances. The response, positive or negative, will largely depend upon how supportive the woman believes others will be in hearing her news.
Is she married? Is she in a healthy, supportive relationship? Does she feel alone? Is she in a loving community? The answers to these questions can impact her response to the news more than questions of finances or convenience. When she has supportive relationships it is easier for her to choose life. The Center seeks to provide support and care for both men and women feeling lost or confused by an unplanned pregnancy.
The unplanned surprises us: an unplanned layoff at work or an unexpected diagnosis. Our lives are filled with unplanned and unexpected events; some minor, some life changing. By definition we cannot plan for the unplanned, but we can be prepared.
How can we prepare ourselves for the unexpected? By preparing our hearts to respond to the unplanned with hope having received the hope scripture promises. While the unplanned may surprise us, it does not surprise God. Our hope does not come from knowing the future but from knowing that the Lord is not only mindful of the unplanned, but that He promises to walk with us in the midst of the fear and doubt we face because of it.
Should an unplanned pregnancy be the result of a relationship that we regret, we may be tempted to believe that my action puts me outside of the Lord’s mercy and grace. But nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible tells us that God knows our hearts. He knows our joys and our sorrows. In fact, it is because he is mindful of the hurts and pains that sin causes us that He sent His Son to die for our sins, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
The unplanned can overwhelm us because of the consequences that it brings. It matters little if the consequences came from a DUI or hurting ourselves with a power tool or an unplanned pregnancy. Our regret can lead us to a dark place from which we cannot climb out alone. Thanks be to God that we are not left alone and that He loves us in the midst of the choices we now regret. Knowing this will bring us hope.
Maybe you have heard that Jesus is our “sure foundation.” And it is true; but you may have also been told that we must build upon Christ our sure foundation by doing many good things. Unfortunately, such counsel only increase our despair by reminding us of our failure. In contrast, the Bible tells us to rest in the finished work of Christ. Rest in what Christ has done rather than in what we must do.
If the emphasis is on our performance rather than Christ’s, then when unplanned events occur, we are left hopeless because of our poor performance. But when our hope and trust is in Christ alone, while it may not lessen the pain of the unplanned, we can have hope. “Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Facing the unplanned is never easy, but it can be done without fear by resting in the hope that is ours in Christ. To hear the story of one woman’s unplanned journey, come to The Center’s celebration at CVBF on Saturday at 7 p.m. to see “Unplanned”. The “R” rated movie tells Abby Johnson’s story of how what she saw changed everything when working in an abortion clinic. Unplanned is a difficult movie to watch but an important movie to see.