FIRST-PERSON: I was the product of a rape
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Sandra was a 17-year-old girl who was with her mom and dad on a fall vacation visiting family friends. The friends they were visiting had an 18-year-old son.
One evening both families decided to go down and look at the beautiful pond, but the son asked Sandra to stay back at the house. When all the family members were gone, he lured her into the utility room of their home where he raped her. Sandra did not tell anyone about this because she thought it was her fault. As a result of the rape, she became pregnant.
Many people in our society no doubt would tell her, "You need to have an abortion. You do not need to go through this. You are only 17." But even though Sandra had been violated and raped, she did not want to kill the life living inside her. She chose to have the baby. Nine months later, she had a six-and-a-half pound baby boy -- me.
My life verse is Genesis 50:20, which says, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Joseph's brothers had sold him into slavery, but God used that evil deed to place Joseph as second in command during the seven years of famine in Egypt to save thousands of lives.
Similarly, God has also revealed to me and my mom that God can trump individuals' evil deeds to carry out His purpose and will. Satan tried to stop my birth and harm me. He desired for me to be aborted, but God had other plans.
I gave my life to Jesus when I was 8 years old and surrendered to the call God placed on my life at the age of 14 to preach the Gospel. I am a full-time evangelist with a bachelor's degree from the University of Mobile, a master of divinity with biblical language degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate of ministry in evangelism from Southwestern.
I have been traveling in evangelism now for 20 years, telling people all over the world about Jesus. We are blessed to see thousands of people come to Christ every year, from moms and dads to students to boys and girls. Lives are being changed all over the world, but this ministry would not be happening if my mother had chosen to have an abortion.
I am not here on this planet by accident, and neither are the people we share with every week. Every embryo that is conceived was formed and created by a loving God. We are valuable to Him, and He has an incredible plan for each life. Life should not and must not be stopped by a selfish human being, because God has a greater purpose.
God did not cause that evil deed to happen to my mom. That was one man's depraved mind and willful sin, but God turned it for the good in my life and in my mom's life. I know there are many people that feel this statement is a cliché, especially when they are in the midst of tremendous pain, but the Bible says in Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." The Bible doesn't say that everything that happens to us will be good, but that God will turn every circumstance around for our long-term good to fulfill His purpose.
When I was 3, my mom married a man named Jamie who adopted me and my brother, Allen. Jamie is my real dad, and I would have no other. Two years later, they had my youngest brother, Peyton. At the time, my mom was longing for peace in her life, and she found it in Jesus at the age of 26. A month later, I invited Christ into my life. As an 8-year-old boy, I began to pray for my dad to be saved. I did not want him to go to hell.
Two years later, God orchestrated some events that brought my dad to church with us four Sundays in a row. The final Sunday he gave his life to Christ. God began to move and work in his life. Our family life changed for the good. Another two years later, God called my dad to preach. My dad is now pastor of Cowboy Church of Brazoria, Texas, where hundreds of people have been saved under his ministry -- not to mention the fact that God called me to preach under my dad's ministry when I was 14.
God turns everything around for His good and perfect will.
If it had not been for my incredible mother who had a heart to go against society's "justified abortion," I would not be here, and my little boy, Jake, would not be here. As a result of my mom, Sandra, giving me life, I have shared my testimony all over the world with many women and girls who have been touched by our story.
Many have come up to me and shared that they were pregnant and were thinking about having an abortion but changed their minds because God spoke to them through my story to have the courage to continue the pregnancy. Women who had been raped and became pregnant as a result, like my mother, have introduced me to their little boy or girl who came out of that horrible experience. They were encouraged when I prayed over their little boy or girl, emphasizing that God has a plan for them, and that He is going to use them for His purpose and will.
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).
God is good. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Ronnie Hill is an evangelist from Fort Worth, Texas. For information on his ministry, go to www.ronniehill.com. This article first appeared in SBC Life, journal of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee.