At the beginning of the year, the world watched in horror as a young, healthy football player named Damar Hamlin fell to the ground after suffering cardiac arrest during a game.
With his heart no longer delivering blood to his brain, he lost consciousness, requiring immediate medical attention to prevent permanent disability or death.
Understanding the severity of the situation, the Buffalo Bills’ assistant athletic trainer, Denny Kellington, heroically administered CPR while nervous fans watched from the stands. Shocked and scared, Hamlin’s teammates surrounded him, unashamedly knelt in a tight circle and cried out to God in prayer.
After an agonizing 10 minutes, Hamlin was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. In distress over what happened, countless people shed tears and prayed for a man who had his whole life ahead of him, a man too young to die.
Dan Orlovsky, a commentator for ESPN, even stopped during a live show and prayed on behalf of Damar: “God, we come to you in these moments … because we believe that you’re God and coming to you and praying to you has impact.”
Three days later, Hamlin’s doctors announced he was neurologically intact and beginning to awaken. After a week, he was cleared to return to Buffalo. Two weeks passed, and he was back at the Bills’ team facility and talking to his teammates. God turned tragedy into triumph like only he can do.
As frightening as the ordeal was, it was needed for our nation. God used this moment to remind us of what so many have forgotten:
• The value of a beating heart
• The importance of unity
• The power of prayer
On Jan. 2, 2023, the entire country narrowed its focus on one thing.
I’ve spent many years as a counselor at a life-affirming pregnancy center, so when I saw what was happening, I couldn’t help but think of the millions of hearts that abortion has purposely and forcefully stopped.
Damar’s trainers, medics, doctors and nurses fought for his life, and their efforts were rewarded. Sadly, many people today fight not to save lives but for the right to take them.
I wonder if that would change if our nation would begin to awaken and realize that when Damar’s heart miraculously began to beat again on the football field, it wasn’t for the first time, but the second. The first time was five weeks after he was conceived in his mother’s womb. His heart was as valuable then as it is today.
If our world had the same compassion, urgency and prayer for babies in the womb, over 65 million hearts (in the United States alone) would be beating, and the hearts of countless mothers and fathers wouldn’t be broken.
On Jan. 22, 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday of January as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. We can observe and honor this day by fighting for the lives of others, exposing the tragedy of abortion and speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves.
One of the easiest ways to protect babies in the womb is to be a voice for them at the ballot box. With abortion laws now resting in the hands of each state, our vote to protect the sanctity of life is more important than ever. My Faith Votes is working to motivate and equip Christians across the nation to vote for candidates and policies that seek to protect the most vulnerable.
I pray the alarming visual of a young life nearly taken will evoke the same response of tears and prayers on behalf of the most helpless among us. Like Damar’s trainer, let us heroically fight for every heart.
Everyone cared on Jan. 2, 2023. May our actions prove that we still do on Jan. 22, 2023.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.