Shining a light.

Today is the day that End it Movement shines a light on slavery. People all around the world put a red ‘X’ on their hands to show their solidarity with the anti-trafficking movement and tell everyone who asks (and maybe even those who don’t ask) why they’ve subjected themselves to possible blood poisoning by ink.

Well, this year I’m in Austria. (Did you know?) I would normally be on-board with something like this, obnoxiously re-posting things about it on Facebook and taking a selfie with my red ‘X’ on the day.

Normally. (But I don’t have a red marker this year… just orange, green, and pink)

It's just not the same.

It’s just not the same.

However, as I thought about how I could participate this year, I realized that even if I did put a red ‘X’ on my hand this year, I wouldn’t be able to tell the people who asked about it. I don’t even know what “human” is in German, much less “trafficking”, forced labor”, and “sex slavery”. I don’t really have a sphere of influence here, and even if I did – no guarantees that I’d even see anyone who spoke English tomorrow.

So, instead, I’ll use this platform.

Most of you already know that God has laid this on my heart. You already know that He opened my eyes and dropped a ministry into my lap, along with incredible opportunities to learn and serve. You know that it’s not about me, not about anything amazing that I’ve ever done but that God is using His church to accomplish His purposes: justice, mercy, love. I’m a part of that church.

The truth and magnitude of trafficking is stunning, staggering, maiming, even. In the last year, anti-trafficking organizations have been saying that instead of 27 million slaves, it’s more like 29.8 million. And that’s an estimate, since it’s such an underground business. There are likely many more in slavery. It’s important to tell people how enormous of an issue it is, but I think it’s even more important to share the stories of hope. And I think we need to make sure that Jesus gets His part in those stories, because Jesus is our hope.

We can talk about the people who are rescued all we want, but if we leave God – the one who truly heals people, completely and in a way that nothing else can from the psychological, physical, and emotional horrors of slavery – out of the picture, then we’ve missed the point. We’ve missed our opportunity to say that Jesus came to seek and to save, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, healing for the broken. And that there’s no other way.

No other way.

There’s no other way that injustice will end. There’s no greater power than the One who pushes into dark places with a brighter light than any we’ve ever been able to produce.

I’ve heard so many incredible stories about Jesus meeting people in the darkest imaginable places. He’s there, and I will testify that He is moving to bring darkness to light. His is the biggest red X, and He’s drawing it with His blood over all the people who need to be rescued.

He’s using us, and He’s setting people free. Hey, that’s a word I do know in German! frei

Another Friday.

They’re not just numbers, you know.  Some reports say there are 27 million slaves in the world, some say 3 million.

Some say we’ll never know because so much of the industries where they are enslaved are shady and underground.  Because so many are born into this life.

And it’s so easy for me to forget that the girls and boys who are deceived, coerced, or kidnapped into forced labor or the sex trade aren’t just numbers.  It’s not just sad because of what they have to do -work long hours in horrible conditions, be abused and raped multiple times every day – it’s tragic because they are HUMAN. Because they are someone’s beloved son, daughter, friend, cousin.

But they’re not treated like anything beloved anymore.  They’re treated like property.  Told that they owe the one who purchased them from a trafficker a debt.  Their will is broken down until they believe that they are worthless now.  That they are resigned to this life.

There’s so much despondency in talking about trafficking today, especially since we all celebrated our victory over slavery after the Civil War and William Wilberforce (well, not that we were there to celebrate, but… you know what I mean).  We think about how hard it was to get that slavery issue all settled, how the remnants of that are still in our society today.  And then when we realize that all over the world, in our very nation, people are in horrible slavery situations, we get exhausted.  We think that it was fruitless to try and stop it and that since the numbers are huge and evil is rampant, we can do nothing.

This is the point where we could roll over and say that the evil people who are stealing the innocence of young girls and subjecting them to a life of horrors simply are too powerful.  They win.

But then that when we remember that our God is a God of justice.

Isaiah 61:1 “The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted and to proclaim freedom to the captives.

Isaiah 58: 6:-7 “Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

it’s on God’s agenda.  And God is more powerful than any trafficker, brothel owner, or slavery advocate of any kind.  He’s more powerful than I am, or any other person who desires to see slavery and oppression wiped out from the face of our globe.

And this is why we fight it.  Not because we have any power in our own flesh and blood or because we’re just so fired up about freedom, but because our God is FOR us.  And if our God is for us, then who could stand against us?

This is the part where you should  read about Freedom Firm and Rethreaded and Love146 and go onto Google News and search “human trafficking”.  They may be small, but there is victory every day over injustice.

In the Savior, injustice brought to right, for Your glory, that Your name be lifted high.  Lord over everything, you are near.  All of the universe is at Your feet. The lost are found, the blind will see.  The lame will walk.  The dead will live.  And You, our God, forever You will reign.