The Gift of Conception
I have always loved the story of Ruth —her faithfulness to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and the wonderful confession Ruth makes that begins with “For where you go I will go …” (Ruth 1:16-17). I love knowing of Ruth’s desire to live as one of God’s people and Boaz’ kindness and fidelity to the Lord to the point that he was willing serve as Naomi’s and Ruth’s redeemer and marry Ruth, knowing that a son born to them would not be considered his own (Ruth 4:10). And, because of her faithfulness, Ruth is one of only four women listed in Matthew’s lineage of Christ, as David’s great-grandmother.
Ruth 4 tells us how Boaz and Ruth were married and came together as God intended to create a child. This wasn’t an unusual situation. Ruth wasn’t beyond childbearing years like Sarah or Elizabeth. She wasn’t a virgin like Mary. However, while God’s Word in the book of Ruth tells us that Ruth and Boaz went through the biological process necessary to create a child, “The Lord gave her conception” (Ruth 4:13b).
We often talk about the gift of children, but how often do we consider God’s gift of conception? Not something we earn, or a punishment, but a gift from our loving God?
In the Old Testament, God’s people awaited the Messiah. Every pregnancy raised the question, “Will this child be the Messiah or the mother of the Messiah?” Perhaps they valued those pregnancies more because of that promise. Of course, Mary was given the gift of conception and carried that promised Messiah from that moment. As Elizabeth cried out in Luke 1:42 and Mary sang in The Magnificat (v. 46-55), this conception was a blessing, a part of God’s plan for all mankind.
What about today’s world? When we hear of pregnancies that are too close together or too far apart, or the mother is too young or too old, or the pregnancy will make a family too large in the world’s view, how do we as pro-life Christians respond? Do we join in with the comments like, “Don’t they know how that happens?” or, “Was that planned?” or, “That’s too many children for one family!”?
What if we, as witnesses to God’s Word, make a concerted effort to stop using the term “unplanned pregnancy”? Just as we say “every child a wanted child,” perhaps we can make a change by affirming “every pregnancy a planned pregnancy.”
In our sinful world, conception has become only a biological process that we think we can control. We think adding children to a family is up to us—or is the result of an accident. If we are to be truly pro-life, we must witness to the fact that every conception is a gift from God. No, we no longer wait for the Messiah like Ruth, and there will never again be a conception like Mary’s. But, we live in the time where we have proof that there is a plan for each life at the moment of conception. It is a plan bigger than becoming a great athlete, or even the president of the United States. It’s God’s plan of salvation for all of His children. It is the plan of salvation carried out for all of us by Christ on the cross. Let’s witness to that plan by treasuring God’s gift of conception.
Karen Frohwein serves on the board of directors of LFL of Iowa.