They sang “Father Abraham” with giggles and squeals, arms flailing through the motions and faces revealing nothing but the freedom of youth. They were safe, free to be child in those daylight minutes, though many of them — we were told, in this film — were trafficked, forced into the arms of a stranger to purchase another week’s worth of living, by their very own parents the night before. You wouldn’t know it by their faces. This was what they knew of life. Six, seven, eight year-olds, robbed in the twilight of purity, returning to be children when the sun came up.
Mommy told them to do it.
And, for many of them, they were only following her footsteps. Vulnerability was their inheritance. Vulnerability was the enemy’s invitation.
I had no words after watching a private screening of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, a documentary exposing modern-day slavery in the form of sex trafficking. Tears from last night have overflowed into my morning. The faces of those children, especially, flashing through my mind like a ticker. Injustice carves out such a vacancy in my heart. How? Why? What now? It takes me back to that painful scenario I avoid thinking about: where would my children be, five years from now, if not under our roof?
What do I do with this information, with the faces of these — both women and children — whose innocence is being robbed on the other side of the world, and in my hometown, even as I type?
The most unlikely place is the place He has called me to this morning.
Adoration. To sit at His feet, to gain His perspective — to put my pain, and my understanding of their pain, on the Man who is Justice. And worship Him.
I am still trying to get my mind around this reality being lived out in my heart: adoration expands my understanding of God. His Words about Him, in my mouth and through my experience, open the door to encountering this God-Man. He moves from textbook to story written on my heart.
And when it comes to injustice, worshiping the Man, Justice, allows for a transfer from His heart to mine. His heart and His strategy.
(Each Monday, the column of adoration to the right-side of my blog moves front-and-center, here, and I invite others who are doing the same — stretching their heart to lift God’s Word up and back to Him, despite every obstacle the day presents — to add their link below in the comments section. You can link people back here from your post by grabbing the code on the right side of my blog. If you don’t have a blog but are, yourself, a lover of words and of God and of God’s word, feel free to add an adoration of your own in the comment section. Whether there is one of us or one hundred — and even if the words are written “merely” on our hearts — we will give Him the praise He’s due.)
Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like grass, and wither as the green herb. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and he shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Psalm 37:1-2, 5-6**
There is something so unadulterated by Your presence God.
I sit here and look at You and read Your Word and I drink beauty. Safety covers me like a blanket. You are pure. The same cup I’m offered this morning is the one You will offer to her. Her vulnerability will be exchanged for Your strength.
She, too, will get lost in You.
You shall bring it to pass. You carry the banner of justice, because You are Justice. Everything that is true and noble and right is wrapped up in who You are: who You already are and what You are currently bringing about on the earth.
Justice — true justice — is safety. And, God, You are everything that is safe.
Your plans, Your strategies, Your ways to make it right are like arrows into the heart of the enemy, because You are right. You envelop all of evil’s effects in all that is You and promise restoration for every year that is stolen. You breathe righteousness. Darkness flees at Your presence, for them and for me.
I worship You, God of justice. I come to You, and You unveil strategies. You whisper Your battle plan.
You come to their rescue. They fall prey and You see every minute. They are weak and vulnerable and You promise vindication. Not one day of injustice is outside of Your watch. And in Your time, You cloak what feels like impurity and separation from God with righteousness. You promise a new wardrobe, white like righteousness. They get to shed their past and put on You.
God of justice, You don’t just vindicate, but You weave beauty over every broken place. Every corner of darkness on this earth will, one day (someday soon, we pray), be righted. All will come into Your alignment.
You hear their cries. Every tear is captured by Your grip. Whispers of You spring up from the ground, even seemingly fallow ground. Dirt gives way to life. Holy seedling, coming forth from what appears to be nothing, this child is Your prize. Precious in Your eyes, Your justice has a heartbeat. It’s eye is on the bruised reed, protecting it from breaking.
Father of light, I praise You for your light. I praise You for the noonday sun You shine over a dark night. I praise You for every sunrise that carries the promise of the night’s end. I thank You for defining for me justice — it’s in Your person, it’s in Your deity. It is You.
I throw myself on You in all my uncertainty and know that she, too, across the world, will stumble across opportunity to fall into You. You will vindicate. You will make right. You will replace her shame with righteousness and grant her youth again.
You will cause her beauty to break forth like the first morning light.
She will, again, know life as light.
**For a context to this little space on my blog, read: Why I Adore. You can easily subscribe to these devotional meditations as they are delivered, by using this feed: http://www.EveryBitterThingisSweet.com/posts/chai/feed or by entering your email address in the second box on the right-hand side… (scroll up a bit).