For the last couple months, women have confessed their worry to me.
These women are usually at least a couple of decades of wisdom ahead of me.
They tell me they worry.
They worry about me. They pray for me.
At first, I told them Thank you and not to worry, that I was just fine.
But then I thought more about it and realized I shouldn’t be so quick to just pass over their prayers as a nice thing to do.
That’s when I started to ask them what brought on those prayers and what they’re asking for.
Their answers varied a little, but they all mentioned “darkness” and “protection” from it.
I’ve often caught myself fighting happy moments.
How can I be happy when the world holds so much heartache? It shouldn’t be allowed.
Hearing stories and swallowing down bits of other girls’ darkest hours until they turn my stomach and curl my fingers into fists….
There, in those moments is where the Anchor holds.
Some really great friends have come to me concerned about how my job is affecting my heart. Their concerns are valid. None of them want to see compassion and empathy become vehicles for a crippling burden of taking in all I see and hear. Valid point, ladies. So to prevent that from happening (because how much would the Enemy LOVE to see that?) I look to the Word.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and
one which enters within the veil where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us,
having become a high priest forever.
:: Hebrews 6:19 ::
To say this scripture in Hebrews is encouraging would be a severe understatement. This is foundational to keeping going, to keeping strength up, to “not growing weary in doing good“. Though my heart may be tender, praise God! My soul has an anchor. Solid and unchanging. And the Anchor for my soul keeps me in place. It helps me be present to the pain while not being overcome by it. It keeps me from drifting to the shore for temporary relief. He keeps me in the thick of the storm.
And with that, there is hope. The word also tells me that on top of this anchor for our souls, there is armor to put on.
There, in those moments of contention is where the whole armor of God is EVERYthing. It’s everything
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
:: Ephesians 6:13-18 MSG ::
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance,making supplication for all the saints.
:: Ephesians 6:13-18 ESV::
With their prayers and the confidence that comes from His word, it helps to put the darkness in perspective. I’m coming to see that pain, that knowledge of hard things and joy are not mutually exclusive. So it’s possible to know girls who have suffered a great loss and still enjoy every minute of holding a friend’s brand new baby boy. And it’s possible to hold stories of pain gently in one hand while writing a birthday card to a sister with the other. Knowing full well that the “NOT YET” of the Kingdom is heavy, there is still a time for singing how I lift my eyes up to where my help comes from, lifting that one hand high to the Giver of Life. All of this is possible because there is an Anchor, and there is a King who supplies my armor.
I’m protected also by community. There are words of encouragement, there are texts at just the right time saying they’re praying, there are hugs when there aren’t words. (Sideline: A real, healthy hug cannot be over-valued..)
And as an added grace, there are pastors in my life who follow Paul’s words
Pay careful attention to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood…
Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.
And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace.
The word of his grace.
Perpetually pursuing us, redeeming our world day in and long day out. And you and I, brother and sister, we are His instruments of redeeming grace. How? By personifying the sacrifice, service, grace, hope, joy, and love of Christ, whether in pain or in times of joy. Even when both happen simultaneously.
This reality of redemption strikes hard against the evil of human trafficking. There is a tendency for us to see the whole of this global injustice, and along with it to see poverty and war and oppression and be overwhelmed. So we look away or we hold it all at arm’s length and hope that someone brave gets closer on our behalf. How do we hold it long enough to know it and to fight against it? I wish had an the answer.
What I do know is that the Lord shows us more of our own depravity so that He can open our eyes to the redemptive hope of Jesus Christ working its way into the darkest places of our souls.
This view of Redemption in me being a process of leaps and bounds and “small” victories of the every day…this view helps me to see Redemption working to restore what human trafficking has broken. This Word of grace, this Anchor, this armor, it allows us to see the depravity of human trafficking or of any such darkness and walk with it in view on this long road of redemption. Turning our eyes upon Him,
the things of this world the trafficking, the orphan crisis, the groaning of His creation will grow strangely dim in redemption’s Light.
We see that the redemption of Christ was no little thing,
if we do but measure it, first by our own sins,
then by the sternness of divine justice.
Finally we must measure the greatness of Christ’s Redemption by the price he paid.
:: Charles Spurgeon ::