Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Where were you?

Her story was complicated and sad.
For three hours, she told the Christians about her years as a sex slave. 

The Christians were in her country to fight for freedom for the enslaved. They were interviewing ladies who had once been held in sexual slavery so they could learn more about the modern-day slave trade (it's estimated there are over 35 million slaves in the world today). 

When she finished her story of rape, abuse, and enslavement, one of the Christians responded, "Are you angry towards those people who abused you?" 

"No," she said, "I'm angry at you. Where were you?"

She told the Christians that while she was being raped for years, they were somewhere else, not rescuing her. She went on to explain that today, there are millions of girls just like her and someone needs to save them.  

Those words, "Where were you?" marked the man she spoke them to.  As I listened to him tell this story to a room of people on Saturday, those words marked me, too. 

I'll tell you where I'm at right now: 
I'm sitting on a cushioned chair in an air conditioned room in Hong Kong. I'm typing on a Mac, while listening to music on my iPhone. I have on a $100 pair of tennis shoes. 
I have a water bottle filled with fresh water next to me. 

This stuff isn't bad. 
God likes the I'm-gonna-bless-her-socks-off part of our relationship. He loves it, actually. But there are other parts of our relationship He loves just as much, like the let-her-feel-what-I'm-feeling-for-broken-people part. 
God doesn't want me to stay in the air conditioning forever.  
Sometimes, He wants me to get off the cushioned chair and go befriend a drug addict, a prostitute, a lonely college student, a sad next-door neighbor. 

I know you know it, but I'm going to say it anyway. There are people dying right now because they don't have access to clean water to drink. There are other people dying because they haven't had a meal in weeks and their bodies have finally starved. There are child soldiers marching in armies, there are women in slavery being raped, there are children being sold.
I could go on for a long time, but will stop now. 

I've said it once, I've said it 100 times, and I'm about to say it again: you don't have to look far to find someone who's in darkness. I think the people in darkness are asking something like this; 
"Where are you?"

The world's got problems, folks. Lots of them. But you know what the beautiful hopeful mighty God has done? He sent His Son to rescue people out of the darkness. Those He's already rescued, He has filled with Light and said, "Now go show them who I am and that I want to rescue them out of darkness, too!"

And along the way, He lets us feel what He's feeling. Sometimes it hurts. But if we'll cry for the hurting, He'll turn those tears into action. 

It's so easy to look away. It's so easy to pretend like sickening things aren't happening. And it's definitely easier to stay far away from the sickening things. But that's just not what God has asked His people to do. Instead, He's asked us to walk right up to them, to stare straight at them, and to put ourselves right in the midst of it all 
(Luke 10:25-37). He invites us not to just look at those stuck in darkness, but to go be with them right where they're at, feel their pain, and escort them out. He's got new places for them that aren't crummy or dark at all. 

"God, I give you permission to let me feel what You feel."
"God, I give you permission to send me to the hurting."
These are serious prayers to pray. He answers us.

"Walk a life of yielded love. Don't question Him. I've just learned to yield and say 'yes.'"

- Heidi Baker