by Bethany Goodman (March for Life)



     Unexpected situations present themselves nearly every day.  Whether minor incidents, or much more serious occurrences, nearly all that happens to us is unexpected - from our earthly perspective, that is. But from the mundane to the major, all of our steps are known to God and ordained for His purposes (Isaiah 55:8-9; Romans 8:28).

     One of the most unexpected circumstances a person could find herself in is fresh on our minds from the Christmas season.  Mary, a virgin engaged to be married, was informed by the angel Gabriel that she was not only to give birth to a son, but that her child would be God's son (Luke 1:32).  Talk about an astonishing turn of events for young Mary!

     Gabriel's message to Mary took her life on a very unexpected turn, one that would include great suffering, culminating with Mary watching her Son Jesus mocked, beaten, and crucified.  But with that great sorrow came great joy, not only for Mary but for the entire world.

     As we reflect upon Mary's story and Sanctity of Life Month this January, consider the woman who faces an unexpected pregnancy or unexpected circumstances surrounding her pregnancy, such as a poor prenatal diagnosis.  Worldly wisdom advises that if the baby will bring difficulties, be it the struggle of being a single mother, or the challenge of raising a child with a disability, so it is better to "terminate" the child's life in the womb and "move on."

     Consider this shocking statistic: Anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of babies who are diagnosed in the womb with Down Syndrome are aborted. Tragically, doctors advise parents that because a baby's life may be less than "perfect" (if the diagnosis is even correct), it may mean a more difficult life for Mom and Dad, and it is better to "terminate" the pregnancy.

     In addition to Scripture's very clear admonition against the murder of preborn babies who are made in the image of God, abortion eliminates the blessings that come from unexpected circumstances, including disabilities. One mom of a little boy with Down Syndrome shared on Good Morning, America recently about her initial fears and the challenges experienced in the first six months after her son was born. But she concluded, "He has brought me more joy in his short life than I ever thought possible."

     Every life is a gift from God, no matter the circumstances that we are born into or experience. We should never downplay the struggles and suffering that unexpected situations bring to life, but we must remember that they produce perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:4). We can find comfort and joy in knowing that each step is watched over by our Maker.


  • Read Isaiah 55:8-9. God's ways are never unplanned. Reflect on how His plans for you thus far may have been unexpected from your human perspective, but they came with a purpose. Write down several things that you have learned through surprising twists and turns. Praise God for the circumstances you write about, remembering that Paul tells us that our momentary troubles are nothing compared to the eternal glory that will be revealed in us with Christ! (Romans 8:18)
  • This January, during Sanctity of Life Month, pray for parents who are facing an unexpected pregnancy or a poor prenatal diagnosis, that they would have the courage and support to embrace God's unexpected plan for their lives. Pray that they might realize that every life is a gift, and that God has a plan for their children too.
  • Finally, ask the Lord to give all of us the strength of Mary when we experience suffering and difficult circumstances in our lives so that we can trust God's ways and say, "I am the Lord's servant" (Luke 1:38).

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