On February 6, 2006 Bono gave a speech at a presidential breakfast. He boldly proclaimed in front of the world’s most influential leaders that poverty was not an issue of charity but one of justice.
They are words, among many others, which have changed the way I see the world, the way I see the poor and the way I see myself in relation to the two.
So after I graduated college, I set out into the world yearning to know what God meant when he said “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” (James 1:27). I wanted, desperately, to truly care about something more than myself and my own vain ambitions.
So I left. I lived in Australia and learned everything I could about Jesus through a YWAM DTS and shortly thereafter took off around the world to learn of this deep love the Lord had for the poor, the destitute and the down-trodden.
Four years and 30 countries later I have seen a lot of the world. I’ve held the hands of the dying and wiped the tears of prostitutes. I’ve seen little girls hacked up in the name of tradition and I prayed with young girls who were kidnapped and forced to sell their bodies for the rest of their lives.
In the face of these injustices, one’s initial inclination might be toward hatred and anger or a sense of hopelessness. But that is not what I found. In the backwards way of the gospel I found a deeper sense of love in the places that seemed absent of it, I felt joy in the pain and I felt hopeful in the face of insurmountable odds.
I guess it is true. God IS with the poor.
God is in the brothels, in the alleyways where humans are sold. God is in the cries of the children who wander the streets. God is in the heart of the broken woman who has been infected with a disease that will end her life, and God is with us if we are with them.
This knowledge has turned my life upside down and I now know, without a doubt, that the call upon my life is to be with those women. To be their voice when no one else can hear them and to point them to the true hope and life found in Jesus.
It’s led me on this path to do Kingdom Journeys, a start-up dedicated to bringing healing and purpose to marginalized women around the world. Because it is a brand-new program that we are putting together, it has been overwhelming in the best ways. Many times I have found myself on my knees, begging God to show me the way because I am in over my head.
It was in this position that I found myself quite often leading up to our first Beauty For Ashes retreat held right here in Gainesville. We had invited women who had only been out of the sex-trade for 1-3 weeks and I felt as I had nothing to offer them. Who am I to tell them that God can heal the emotional trauma of rape when I had never been raped? Or that Jesus can give them hope when I had no idea of the hopelessness they had experienced?
So as a group we prayed, we begged God to move and speak through us.
And He did, on that cold December day six women who had known nothing but hate and lust experienced a deep intimate love from a Father who had knit them together in the womb. There were tears of pain and of joy, tears of release and hope.
God was alive and moving and we were just trying to keep up.
You see I was reminded of something that day, that while evil may prowl around like a lion seeking whom devour, so does something even stronger. Love.
So let’s get behind love, let’s get behind God because He is already on the move.
“Stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Get involved in what God is doing — because it’s already blessed.” Bono said that. Maybe those rosy colored glasses actually do help him to see the world more clearly.
Today I am getting behind what God is already doing? Won’t you join me?