By Jamie Finch
Tonight, I met a woman nobler than I could ever hope to be. She only has one leg because she lost the other in an accident three years ago. I don’t know the extent of the accident or even what happened. All I know is that the accident took her leg and left her with huge scars over the rest of her body.
She lives with eight children in the most makeshift of shelters I have ever seen. Some of the children are her own grandchildren; some of are no relation at all. Their parents either can’t or simply won’t take care of them themselves.
Most of their mothers work in the bars in Bangkok. Most of their fathers are nowhere to be found. They have very little rice for their meals, and only a few of the children get to go to school because that is all she can afford.
This woman makes some of the most beautiful silk I have ever seen. Prang and I bought some from her tonight. More than likely, the entire sum of the purchase will go towards food for the family because of the sheer number of mouths to feed.
Tonight, I met a woman nobler than I could ever hope to be, and it was my humble honor to be in her presence. Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.”
I am starting to understand more of what I am doing here. I am starting to understand better my role in this world. I am starting to understand that I understand everything and nothing at the same time.
That woman was in need. No one would even begin to argue with that. But the thing that she was lacking is not what most people would assume by simply glancing at her situation or choosing to make a charity case of it. More than being in need of the money that we gave her, this woman was in need of the dignity that is found in finally being noticed. There is a certain confidence that comes when someone says that what you are doing is not in vain, and it is indeed lovely.
We saw she is indeed lovely, her heart as well as her hands and what they create. It is this kind of life that is changed in such a way that speaks the loudest of restoration, especially to those closest to her, in this case, her children.
Maybe her daughters would come home, seeing that there is value in hard work and that there is hard work to be done here and that it is rewarding. Maybe they would get themselves out of the hell that is the bars in Bangkok. Maybe they would learn to value and love themselves and, in turn, learn to value and love their children. Maybe, over time, because of people like this woman, Prang, and her sisters, and their dedication and compassion and love, this village could be changed.
Maybe this country could be changed.
Maybe this slavery could be stopped.
Maybe these captives could be freed.
Two questions had been posed to me not so long ago by whatever source you wish to call it, conscience, thoughts, Holy Spirit (I will call it the latter), and they are questions I hadn’t really completely understood at the time, but have been wrestling with non-stop since that night that I wrote about above.
You see, we cry for God to come to the oppressed and to set the captives free. We call to Him to come down and meet them in the darkness. But the part that we seem to have missed is the part where we agree to work for itin our waiting. We do His will in the knowledge of faith that He will come and join us and complete the task.
He has asked me, in the same way that He asks all of us:
Will you suffer with them?
Will you suffer for them?
Poverty is captivity.
Poverty is a robbery.
Not of money, but rather of dignity.
And not just for those that are in it, but also for those of us that refuse to run to their rescue because we miss out on the beauty of being one.
What am I doing with my time on earth if not setting captives free:
to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free?
Will I suffer with them?
Will I suffer for them?
I pray that my answer will be yes and not just now as these visions and truths are fresh. I hope it will always be yes even after I have left this place and these realities are back on the other side of the world. I pray that I will always remember them and always respect them enough to live my life in such a way that honors them, even from afar.
I pray that I will always continue to fight back the darkness and set the captives free, for it is within our obedience that He comes and rescues. It is within our hands that His healing touch is found. And it is from our lips that His life-giving words come, if we allow it.
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Jamie has a nomadic heart that currently finds itself in Saint Louis, Missouri. She is passionate about creativity in any form and loves to write, sew, paint, take pictures, have conversations, dream, and love.More than anything, she desires to seek the Kingdom and bring the Kingdom into the places where it is the hardest to imagine.