As I sit here, lost for words, my heart hurts. Tears stop and start again, with no regard for my efforts to stop them. I keep asking God to give me the words to share this burden, but I still don’t know where to start.
I was talking to Asia recently about how I think God gave us all the ability to be patient or kind or courageous, to have empathy, to discern, to encourage, etc. We were talking about how we can’t look down on others if they seem to lack patience, or empathy, or whatever, because their strength could very well be in the area that we ourselves are weak. I might look at someone who is courageous and wish I was bolder. We all have strengths and sometimes I wish mine wasn’t empathy.
I watched a video today. It was one of those videos where you stop it halfway because you’re not sure you can take anymore. It was about a group of people who assist the government in extracting children during human trafficking busts. It tore me up. Those are somebody’s kids. They could be my kids. They could be your kids.
Bob Pierce, missionary and founder of World Vision said, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” I’m sure we have all prayed those words at some point in our journey to be more like Him. I know I have. But do you wish you could take them back? Are there things you wish you could unlearn? Are there things you don’t want to know? I have learned some things this year that a huge part of me wishes I could unlearn. But then there is this other part of me that embraces the pain that comes with the knowledge of the truth, no matter how many tears roll down my cheeks. No matter how ugly my cry gets. There is something about heart wrenching sorrow that makes us feel alive, draws us closer to God, and fills us with gratitude. There is also a kind of sorrow that is closely followed by a wrath towards evil that feels confusing. It’s confusing because a lot of believers, when confronted by lies, corruption, violence, abuse, etc, respond with a passivity that feels clothed in piousness. “All we can do is pray and trust Him. It’s in His hands. He is in control.” Blah, blah, blah. Don’t get me wrong, that is mostly true. We can pray, we can trust him, it is in His hands. But that is not “all” we can do, and are we even doing it? If you are talking about praying and actually praying, I take back the pious comment. Thank you. There is nothing pious or passive about interceding for these little ones.
Jesus is the lion and the lamb. He is love and forgiveness and peace, and a warrior. Peace and justice are always intertwined. Psalm 85:10-11 says, “Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; justice and peace will kiss each other.” Justice and peace are not at odds with each other. But justice doesn’t come without a fight. Why is our first response to that statement, “Well…. Fight is kind of a strong word.” Darn right it is, and I’m ready for one, which is why it’s confusing. It’s just not possible to passively fight for justice. I feel like a mama bear. A wannabe ninja with no training. I feel like going all Sampson with a donkey jawbone on the enemy. No exaggeration, I’m ready to sign up for combat training and join the fight for our kids on the frontline. Sign me up. It’s time to be a lion.
Micah 6:8 says, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness?” How do you “do” justice? What does that look like? Whatever it is, it sounds like it requires action.
Today in church our pastor said that the first sin was passivity. He said that a lot of scholars believe that Adam was the first to sin, not Eve. That his failure to lead, to confront the serpent, and to resist evil, was the first sin. I had never heard that taught before. It sounds familiar though doesn’t it? How many of us step back and say, “I think I’m going to stay out of this,” Instead of, “No, that is a lie, and we will not follow your lead.”? I think we can all agree that passively standing in the background watching the enemy lie, steal, kill and destroy, but choosing to stay out of it, isn’t really loving or protecting anyone but ourselves.
In the old sci-fi movie Serenity, one of the characters says about another, “She’s damaging my calm.” That is basically half the Christians in America right now. “Don’t talk to me about politics, don’t talk to me about corruption, don’t talk to me about human trafficking. You are damaging my calm.” I’m sorry, not sorry, to say, that we don’t get to live in a safe little bubble, protected from the truth about other people’s reality, and still manage to fulfill the requirement to “do justice and love kindness.” There are kids of all ages, all over the world, being sold for sex. I am sorry if that is uncomfortable and I am sorry if you don’t believe it. I know it is true. I saw it in an orphanage in Haiti. I know the kids’ names, I know their stories, I saw their pain, I cried with them and I still cry today when I remember them. Don’t tell me child trafficking is exaggerated. You don’t know. Some of you don’t want to know. I’m not trying to be harsh. Earlier this year, Erich shared a very disturbing video with me that I was not prepared for and I got angry with him. Yeah, it is easier not to know. But God knows. He sees it every day. It breaks his heart every day. Sometimes I don’t know how he allows this thing we call life to go on. I couldn’t take it. But maybe by allowing ourselves to be exposed to the pain of knowing the truth, we will be filled with compassion to the point that we are compelled to leave our own comfort zones and fight for justice.
I challenge you to set aside an hour, or an evening, turn off your tv and choose to press in. Watch that video someone sent you that you were afraid to watch, research the statistics on trafficking, read survivors’ stories, follow the groups who fight to free kids, and yes, pray. If we don’t know what is happening, how can we pray for it? Get involved, raise awareness. Take your shields down just for a minute. Allow your calm to be damaged. My heart hurts. And I don’t want it to stop.
For those of you carrying a heavy burden, the song below ministers to my heart, I hope it blesses yours.