Back in March I had the unbelievable privilege of gathering with nearly 1,000 other people at International Justice Mission's annual Global Prayer Gathering. It was 2-1/2 days filled with stories of victims rescued, perpetrators convicted, hope rising, and the power and grace of an almighty God who is at work in the fight against human trafficking.
Many things from that weekend have stuck with me. But one sentence stands out - above all else I saw and heard, this resonates in my heart, and causes me to stop and consider the depth and sincerity of my own commitment to this fight.
In his final words to the friends and family gathered at the GPG, Gary Haugen encouraged our continued commitment to the people who are on the front lines of this fight: the victims; the investigators; the law enforcement officials; the after care workers; and so many others who are efforting to make a difference.
"These people," he said, "don't need our short spasms of passion, but our long obedience in one direction."
I don't know about you, but short spasms of passions are much easier for me. They don't require much thought, or much sacrifice. Just a response in the heat of the moment; a response that is quickly forgotten. I can pray and mourn over the tragic devastation caused by human trafficking - especially during a weekend like GPG - and then very quickly push it to the "back burner" when I return to my normal, everyday life. I hate admitting that I can be so fickle about something so awful, but the propensity exists - whether I admit it or not.
Knowing this about myself, Gary Haugen's word's have all but haunted me these last few months. What, exactly, are my efforts in the fight against human trafficking? Is this the beginning of a long obedience, or just another passion spasm? I want to believe it's the former. I want to believe that this will be a life's work; that I will look back at the end of my time on earth and see that I've spent decades engaged in this fight.
The purpose of this post is not so much to bear my soul (though I guess I am, to some degree). It is meant, instead, to be an encouragement to those who are on the front lines.
Because Gary is right.
You deserve consistent, committed support. You experience things I could never imagine. You put your lives at risk in order to rescue people that the rest of the world has forgotten (or chooses not to see). And you do it everyday of your lives. I can't begin to express the admiration and respect I feel towards those of your who are involved in such a dark, difficult and costly work.
Right about now, I could easily begin making grandiose statements about my lifelong commitment to support those who are fighting such a difficult fight. I could promise to continue doing my small part to raise awareness - about them, their work, and the truths of human trafficking.
But I won't.
Instead, I will let time (and my actions) speak for themselves.
To those who are on the front lines, know that we're with you. Know that you are remembered, prayed for, believed in and supported. We may not know all the details of your work, but we know you're out there. Know that, even when you feel like you're standing all alone, you are continually remembered by those of us who strive to do our very best to support you.