Updated: Mar 25, 2022
Brothers and Sisters,
No doubt, you’ve all seen pictures, read news stories, and watched commentary about Lia Thomas and her* victory at the NCAA Division I swimming championship last week.
There is much to lament here, and I believe we’re called to stand firm as ever in proclaiming the truth, goodness, and beauty of God’s design for sexuality and gender.
My goal today, though, isn’t to arm you with arguments and fire you off into the culture. Rather, I’d like to share a preliminary thought from E.M. Bounds’ Power Through Prayer,
Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still. He will never talk well and with real success to men for God who has not learned well how to talk to God for men.
You could probably tell that the context here is evangelism. But, if we’re striving together for the faith of the gospel (Phil 1:27), everything we say about God and His world ought to serve our witness—including our response to cultural insanity.**
The world needs our words, but we will only speak well for God and His design if we’ve first spoken to God about those images who’ve been deluded and deceived into believing that boys can become women.
If our prophetic speech about God’s good design is unseasoned with prayer, then our words will fall to the ground. Worse, they will fail to convey the light of the gospel to neighbors who desperately need to receive it.
Before you confront,then, I urge you to pray. Before you post, pray. Before you argue, pray. Before you vent your spleen over the craziness of our cultural moment, pray.
That said, here are 5 people you can pray for. Feel free to add to my list.
Lia Thomas - Pray that the Lord would convict Lia over her sinful rejection of His design and that He would bring about healing in every sense of the word. Pray against the voices—internal and external—that have convinced her that she needs to be someone other than who God made her to be. Pray that the love of Christ would rescue her and slay the spiritual and psychological demons who led her to this place.
Her Teammates and Competitors - Pray for those women who’ve suffered deep injustice yet are too afraid to speak up. Pray for those who have spoken up. Pray for those young Christian women who have an opportunity to speak into Lia’s life, that they would be both salt and light to her and that their words would convey the life, light, and love of Christ. Pray they would be protected from reprisal.
Female Athletes - Pray for those girls and women across sports who are deeply discouraged by these developments. Pray for their safety on the field and in the locker room. Pray for their witness to confused friends, teammates, coaches, and competitors, as well.
The Academy/NCAA - Pray for sanity in the NCAA and all our academic and athletic institutions more broadly. Pray that they would be convicted and would recognize the folly of their ideological position. Pray that, if they cannot get on board with God’s design, then they would at least protect some measure of fairness.
Kids and their Parents - Pray for the kids, who are confused by much of what they see in our culture. Pray also for parents who are called to speak clearly and lovingly about God’s design, often in direct contradiction with what’s being said in the classroom and on TV.
Never forget that the figures who occupy the center of these controversies are people—created in the image of God and deeply loved even amid their manifest sin and confusion.
From her competitors’ vantage point, Lia is a victimizer. Her hands are not clean. Yet, she is also a victim of cultural and ideological deception. I know nothing of her personal life and family support structures (or lack thereof), but I do know that there are myriad influential voices enabling and cheering her on in her self-deception. Over that, we ought to weep.
Oh, that the Lord would help us to stand in the gap for confused young people everywhere so that we might lovingly encourage them to see the goodness of His design.
In Christ Alone,
*I’m choosing to use feminine pronouns out of respectful deference—not as an admission that, in chemically and physically altering his body, he has in fact become a she. By my lights, Lia has not.
** I use the word insanity intentionally. The word itself comes from the Latin in (“not”) + sanus (“healthy”). What we’re seeing is cultural disease, and it calls for healthy words of biblical doctrine (1 Tim 1:10; 6:3; 2 Tim 1:13; the Greek hygiaino is translated sanus in Latin and sound in English, but it literally means healthy).