Because We Can Change Things

Originally published Wednesday, 29 October 2014.

Very rarely do I wake up in the middle of the night–but tonight was one of those nights. I tried to go back to sleep and that didn’t work so I came downstairs to read my Bible. As I sit in the quiet of my comfortable home: warm and safe, with my children sleeping in their own beds, dreaming innocent dreams, with a bright hope for the future, I need to tell you something.

It is not like this for so many in the world.

yes, you may think, i know. But before you stop reading, I want you to take that in. There are mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters all around us who cannot be safe. There are toddlers and kids and teenagers who don’t know what hope looks like.

yes, you may think, it’s terrible. But let me tell you one more thing. There is also evil. There are mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters who treat others with a deep, dark contempt. There are those who have given themselves over to a violent, brutal side in their hearts. There are those who use other people for their own pleasures and their own greed in ways that are violently opposed to God’s plans for people. There are those who are so caught up in this darkness, so deceived, that they use people as if they are not human. As if they are not their father and mother and brother and sister. They use them in such vile and shocking ways that most of us just want to turn away quickly and pretend like it doesn’t exist.

But friends, people are using people. All over the world. Look at this testimony from a US State Department report of trafficking in persons:

“Mary, a 16-year-old demobilized child soldier forced to join an armed rebel group in central Africa, remembers: “I feel so bad about the things that I did…. I still dream about the boy from my village whom I killed. I see him in my dreams, and he is talking to me, saying I killed him for nothing, and I am crying.”

I hope you’ll read the whole thing, but if not, just read this:

Of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people trafficked across international borders annually, 80 percent of victims are female, and up to 50 percent are children. Hundreds of thousands of these women and children are used in prostitution each year.

yes, you might say, it is evil. And you may be getting ready for church or school right now, trying to hustle your own kids out of your safe and comfortable house. Maybe you are 24 right now and barely scraping by, wishing and hoping for a future, barely enough time to figure your own life out, less time to engage in worldwide problems that seem unsurmountable. Maybe none of us want to believe this is true–because no one wants this. No one wants to believe that life is like this, full of darkness and evil and deception.

yes. you say.

And this is what I would say: I feel powerless too. I feel like I’m not doing enough too. I feel a tidal wave of despair come over me too. But those feelings won’t change the world.

I opened to Jeremiah tonight and came to these words:

“If you speak good words rather than useless ones, you will be my spokesman.

You must influence them; do not let them influence you.” Jeremiah 15:19

So I must influence you, because God has given me a platform to do so. There are many voices in our heads that say we are too small and too unimportant to get involved. These are lies, lies that help keep you distracted with your own life and ignorant of evil. But the truth: yes, it is terrible. yes, it is overwhelming. yes, it is dark and evil.

And yes, we can do something about it.

3 Things You Can Do Right Now:

1. Get informed and talk about it.

2. Pray for rescue.

3. Support an organization.

Here’s some places for you to start. Do something, because doing anything is better than nothing. Always.

An enormous list of government reports and information you can read, via PBS.

Organizations we support financially:

International Justice Mission: read about problems and solutions

Hope for Justice: read more about restoration

Richmond Justice Initiative (local): read about domestic trafficking and what you can do about it in your own town.

Remember, there is never “too small” a use of influence. The only thing too small is nothing. We can do this–we can do something.