sometime last year, my hubs and i got invited to a sara groves concert. it changed my life forever. sara shared about a book and an organization that had changed her life, as well as a story that goes along with that book. this story is about a young woman named elizabeth. here's my rendition of how it all goes:
elizabeth was a young woman in asia. a christian, in a christian family, preparing to save money to go to college. a neighbor (who was so close to her and her family that they called her "auntie") told her that she had friends who could give her a job in the city. once elizabeth got to the city, she was sold into a prostitution ring.
every night she would get on her knees before God in a horrible, dirty brothel, and pray for freedom from the nightmare she was forced into. the other women of the brothel would gather around her and shout at her, saying things like, "your God can't hear you in a place like this," "God has forgotten about you."
the people of IJM (international justice mission) work to free people from human trafficking situations, such as slavery and prostitution rings. IJM staff were planning a raid on this brothel to bring the girls out and help them get spiritual and emotional healing as well as prosecute the people who ran the brothel.
on the day of the raid, the head man of the IJM raids went in and brought elizabeth out. after the chaos subsided, he let elizabeth and the other girls return to the brothel to retrieve their few possessions. when he walked into elizabeth's small 4x8 room with a mattress on the floor, he saw it:
written above her bed, elizabeth had written "the Lord is my light and my salvation. whom shall i fear? the Lord is the stronghold of my life. who shall i dread?"
in the midst of complete terror, elizabeth trusted in her God. in the midst of complete darkness, God saw elizabeth and rescued her.
there's a line in one of her songs called "when the saints" that gets me everytime.
"i see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor. i see the man with passion come kicking down that door." that girl is elizabeth.
the book that talks about this mission and others to free people from human trafficking and prosecute those responsible is "terrify no more" by gary a. haugen. he works for the IJM and the work they do is an incredible testimony to who God is and that He truly is sovereign.
this song and this book have given me a very different world view. there are places that we would never want to go and never want to see, and people are there. they have no one to advocate for them. no one to speak up. God calls us to.
"seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow" -isaiah 1:17
"open our mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy." prov 31:8,9
we are not to sit idly by and watch injustice.
we are to speak up.