Posted by: 15shekels | September 16, 2010

Who really wants his heart broken? Part II

Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” -1 John 5:14-15

Almost one full year ago, I posted my prayer for a broken heart, echoing the prayer of Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision—

“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”

In the post, I expressed frustration. It seemed like no matter how much I learned about suffering and injustice, I had an infuriating habit of switching within minutes from deep compassion for those affected to the superficial details of my day-to-day life. How could I go running, or do laundry, or watch a comedy, unaffected and undisturbed, when people were being murdered and raped? I was disgusted with myself.

A year later, I had almost forgotten about my prayer when I was asked to speak to a group about my upcoming trip to Cambodia to do anti-trafficking prevention and aftercare work. The group to whom I was speaking had recently read “The Hole in our Gospel,” and the leader asked me share any ways in which the book had inspired me on my current path.

That’s when it struck me like a lightning bolt—my heart has been broken. God has laid heavily upon my heart the issue of human trafficking and exploitation, the 27 million people who are enslaved around the world. I have spent the last year reading everything I could on the subject, horrified but unable to turn away. I have read first-hand accounts of girls as young as three, four, five, being held by force in sexual slavery and raped several times a day. I have read about 12-year-old runaways in New York City who have been manipulated by pimps into believing that they are only lovable if they sell their bodies. I have read about child laborers and child soldiers, and my heart has cracked open in shock and horror. But God hasn’t just laid this issue upon my heart to crush me beneath it. He has also called me to action.

I am going to Cambodia next month to work with trafficking prevention campaigns, anti-trafficking non-profits, and aftercare centers. I will be doing craft projects with girls who only days before were working in brothels. The trip practically dropped into my lap, as I received an email about it two hours after praying for an opportunity to serve. As I started fundraising, financial support and prayers flooded in on me lavishly. God is providing.

In addition, I am currently applying to law schools (hence the months of silence on this blog) in order to better understand the laws against trafficking and the barriers that prevent these laws from effectively protecting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice. God has laid this issue so heavily on my heart that it has profoundly shaped the direction of my life and goals. My heart has also softened for those who, in stark contrast to trafficking victims, have every imaginable material comfort, but are hurting deeply emotionally or spiritually. God’s heart does not break only for the poor, and He has opened my eyes to pain in a variety of places.

And yet I had completely forgotten to say thank you. I hadn’t even noticed that the events of the past year are all a powerful answer to a heartfelt prayer. The truth is, God didn’t answer my prayer in the way I expected. I don’t walk around all day so burdened by the pain of the world that I can’t find joy in life. And I’ve learned that not only would such pain make me ineffective in responding to it, but that God, in breaking our hearts for injustice, doesn’t want to strip our lives of joy. To the contrary, He wants to bring us into the joy and excitement of advancing His kingdom on earth, of carrying His light into darkness and watching Him set the captives free through our obedience to Him. I know that the work I am pursuing will be frustrating, often fruitless, greatly disillusioning. But I take comfort in the fact that we follow a Lord who brought the salvation of the world out of a bloody death on a cross. It is not up to me to analyze His effectiveness. I just pray for the courage to show up and serve:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

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Responses

  1. Thank you for this post. I, too, have felt compelled to do something about sex trafficking; at this point in my life, I can’t go overseas or to law school, but I pray constantly for rape victims and those who are trapped in the sex trafficking “industry.” God bless you for your willingness to help those in need.

  2. Laura,

    Prayer is the most powerful way that we can help! Thank you for your commitment to these issues.

    Heather

  3. I dip into your blog from time to time and it always provokes thoughtfulness. All the best during your Cambodian trip. So many huge problems in the world but being able to focus on just one is manageable, isn’t it and is the only way not to feel overwhelmed by it all. Love and best wishes. Una


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