Roe v. Wade has been overturned. We’ve waited decades to see those words in print. When something so monumental and so long sought after comes to fruition, it can be hard to make sense of. We know the facts—the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dobbs case overturned Roe. But how are we to understand what brought us to this moment? And what should we do now?
As I’ve tried to begin answering those questions, the words of Psalm 126 come to mind. It’s a psalm of celebration, briefly reflecting on a time “when the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion” by delivering his people from captivity (v. 1), and it offers us a guide as we celebrate another deliverance of sorts.
Tell a Better Story
The psalmist writes that God’s people “were like those who dream” (v. 1). We, too, may find our situation surreal. We may have spent years hoping for Roe‘s reversal and yet find ourselves unable to grasp the fact that it has happened. We need to take time to let it sink in that the dream has become a reality. Then, let us be like the Israelites, our mouths “filled with laughter” and our tongues with “shouts of joy” (Ps. 126:2). This is a moment to celebrate! Remember the prayers you’ve prayed, the hours spent volunteering, the letters written to elected officials. Remember the brothers and sisters in Christ you’ve labored alongside. Pause and take time to experience the joy of what has happened today.
As you do, a story will likely begin to take shape in your mind. When we try to make sense of historic moments, our minds tend to arrange the facts we know into a narrative that helps us understand.
Let’s not miss the truth that ultimately, the story of Roe v. Wade being overturned is a story about God.
Some of us will tell the story of Roe being overturned as a story of nine justices and how they voted. Some will tell a story of giving a voice to the voiceless and defending the powerless. Some will tell a story of political strategy and the evangelical vote. Some will tell a story of good triumphing over evil, the righting of a wrong. Some will tell the story of a goal accomplished and the dawning of a new era. All of these stories help us understand aspects of what has happened. But let’s not miss the truth that, ultimately, the story of Roe v. Wade being overturned is a story about God.
Point of the Story
The psalmist in Psalm 126 tells the Israelites’ story of deliverance like this:
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad. (v. 2–3)
The Lord has done great things for them. In the Israelites’ situation, other nations looked on their deliverance and proclaimed that it was the Lord’s doing. We may consider such a response unlikely in our time. But the Lord has already done an unlikely work in overturning Roe. Perhaps even the overturning of Roe won’t be the greatest thing the Lord does this year. Perhaps he’ll use this answer to prayer to cause people who are outside the kingdom to tell his story of deliverance. Perhaps—dare we hope?—the end of Roe will be the occasion of a spiritual awakening. If it was so in Israel, it might be today.
The Lord has done great things for us. The psalmist affirms the story told by other nations, but he doesn’t add the details of Israel’s deliverance. Perhaps more information would only distract us from the main point. Instead of explaining what has happened, the psalmist emphasizes who accomplished it by repeating what has already been said—God has done this.
The overturning of Roe, too, is a story about God. He has heard our prayers and used our efforts, and he has done a great work. That’s the main point of the story.
But that’s not to say that details don’t matter. Of course, we give thanks that God works through various means and rightly consider what we can learn from the circumstances of the Dobbs case. We’re right to analyze the nuances of the ruling and how the justices voted. We should consider how we got to this point and the implications for the future of the pro-life movement. We can explore what overturning Roe did and didn’t accomplish. These are all worthy pursuits as we continue to use all the means God has given us to advocate for life.
Turn the Story into Praise
But as we tell the story of how nine justices voted, let’s praise God that “the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov. 21:1).
As we tell the story of giving a voice to the voiceless and defending the powerless, let’s praise God that “the LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Ps. 103:6).
As we tell the story of political strategy and voters in the booth, let’s praise God that “there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Rom. 13:1).
As we tell the story of good triumphing over evil, let’s praise God that “the LORD is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked” (Ps. 129:4).
As we tell the story of a goal accomplished and the dawning of a new day, let’s praise God that one day “he will wipe away every tear . . . and death shall be no more” and the Lord will say, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:4–5).
As we tell the story of how nine justices voted, let’s praise God.
Roe v. Wade has been overturned. The Lord has answered our prayers. He has established the work of our hands and brought forth fruit from our labors. And now we can declare with the psalmist that “those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Ps. 126:5).
Tomorrow there will still be work to do. But today let us proclaim that the Lord has done great things for us. And let us be glad.