"Rejoice in our confident hope." -Romans 12:12a (NLT)
I only know it because my Guy and I resolved last year to teach vs. 9-21 to our kids, and isn't it in the teaching where we do our best learning? And so I know it, but today my heart learns it over again, and it's not only written but engraved there now. Because oh, how desperately I need hope right now.
I've plunged into the passionate awareness of human trafficking once again, and once again I'm broken as I hit the bottom of this sludge. It's everywhere I turn - on the web, and in my blog reading list, on the news, and in my email, in the new books on my kindle, and - I know God doesn't send me subtle messages this way. He's shouting battle orders in my ear. "Fight - for My precious ones!" How could I ever go AWOL now? The missionary tells my Guy over skype that the ladies will minister at a prostitute village. I'm not going with them this time, but my heart is. I cry for a day and then two, and now a week. "These tears are such powerful prayers," a dear friend reminds me from across the country over the phone. I read the stories and study the statistics and see the faces with dead eyes, and oh how I reach and claw and scramble for just a thread of hope.
- Every 60 seconds, a child is sold for sex worldwide
- Human trafficking is the 3rd largest global industry, behind drugs and guns
- The average age of entry into pornography and prostitution in the US is 13 years old.
- There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today… or about 1 in every 250 people.
- Sex trafficking cases have been reported in all 50 states and in more than 90 cities across the country.
- In the United States alone, it is estimated that there are 200,000 slaves.
- More than 1 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade each year.
- Today, the average price of an individual slave is $90.
- Approximately 800,000 – 900,000 victims are trafficked annually across the international borders worldwide.
- The US is the second highest destination area in the world for trafficked women.
- Last year, the slave industry made more money than Google, Nike, and Starbucks combined.
- There are more people in slavery today than at any other point in history… Including the 300 years of trans-Atlantic slaves trading from Africa.
Those are nauseating numbers, but I refuse to look the other way for even one more day. If I vomit I vomit. If I cry, then I cry. Am I or am I not a follower of the One who picked up a cross and put down His blood? Monkey see, monkey do, and I will become more undignified than this. Lay down my life for just one of these ...
Oh, God - please ... stop this murder of innocence, this killing of innocents, dead long before they stop breathing. I can tell in their eyes. No life remains.
But when you put the Word in your soul, God will bring it back to you at just the right moment, and what did we study a few months ago ... ?
"The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. ... They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “You alone know the answer to that.”
Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
... So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. ...Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. ... When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’”
(from Ezekiel 37 - NLT)
I studied it and prayed it for the friend I send for just one. It hits me again and it hits her too, on the same day. She calls and we cry together, tears reaching through cell towers and satellites and around the world. Tears that move mountains and bring bones back to life with His word. Breath of Life.
Today - this day - we have hope for the dead eyes. Hope for the statistics. Hope for the individuals. Hope for this girl. Hope for that woman. Hope for our generation and our world. Why? Because we know the God who does things like this - He takes the deadest of the dead and - gives them BREATH. Will I go and send and speak for and give toward His resurrection work in these lives? I don't have a choice - it is fire in my bones. Will you?
Today, we "rejoice in this confident hope:" We love the God who does miracles like this. He sends rescuers to break their chains. He brings healing. He changes the indifferent into the passionate. He gives life, and then a breath. It is hope. It is confident. And I rejoice.
Want to know how you can get involved in the war against human trafficking? Click these links and refuse to bury your head in the sand another day.
The Exodus Road - funding undercover investigators, real rescues, changing this injustice once life at a time
F.R.E.E. International - stopping human trafficking here in the United States, with the love of Christ
Tune in here from the nest next Tuesday for even more hope in the face of injustice. Together we fight for Him and the ones He loves!