Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. This is an issue I have become increasingly aware of in the past few months or so. That innocent and poor human beings, some very young, all vulnerable, are tricked, coerced, and held against their will, in order that someone else may make money out of the labor of their hands or the sexual sale of their bodies.
Did not He who made me in the womb make him?
And did not One fashion us in the womb?
This is verse is from a really interesting chapter of Job (I recommend going and reading the whole thing), where he catalogues a very specific definition of righteousness. In the section of this particular verse, he is discussing the way he has treated the people who work under him, that he has not ignored their complaints or mistreated them--and this is his reason--do we not each have the same Creator?
Should we not all have this same level of respect for our fellow human beings? Should we not be--I was about to say outraged--and outrage is an appropriate response--but it is not my response. I don't get angry very much. But when I think of what little I know about this particular thing that goes wrong in the world, I am sad. And I want to do something. I want to take the helpless ones in my arms and offer them some comfort. I want to give them a chance to live the free life that is all I have known.
I don't really have money that is mine to give (not in a dependable regular way; I'm not saying I never give any) at this stage of my life, and I do not have the tongue or the boldness to go around telling people about these things, and I do not yet have a path clear to what my mission in life is or how I should be seeking it. But what I do have I give to God to use: I have my heart and prayers, I have my pen (or keyboard, more literally in this case), and I have my musicianship. I don't know how to incorporate these things into God's mission, and I don't know what jobs He may have for me, but I offer what I do have, for Him to use as He sees fit.
But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!"
For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
2 Corinthians 8:12
Sunday, January 1, 2012
My own words are not equal to the task I am setting them. How can I say with what comfort I now am looking back on this past year? How can I say that none of the disappointments, frustrations, confusions and worries can outweigh the sense of assurance that overwhelmed me this morning?
I was sitting and thinking about the old year, and how badly I want the new one to be different, only somehow, what God spoke into my heart was not a promise about what will happen, but a reminder about what has happened.
I don't need to explain to Jesus what I am feeling now. I don't need to tell Him about the things that have happened, about the mind games that I play with myself, about the feelings that threaten to pull me into a spiral of nothing, away from the work and fellowship that help.
He was there every day, every hour, every minute of this past year. He shared each moment with me, in all its joys, all its hurts, in every up and down, in all the reverses and unexpected things which I hate so much for their very unexpectedness . . . He has walked with me. He knows my heart.
He will walk with me through this next year as He has with the past one.
But now thus says the Lord,
He who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I
will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall
not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall
not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed Him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay Your hand upon me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.