“It’s almost incomprehensible.”
We no longer think of slavery as something we learned about in history class that happened a long time ago. Like never before, organizations (International Justice Mission), 5K runs (World Concern’s “Free Them” Run/Walk), awareness tools (Not For Sale’s “Free To Work” app), films (Call + Response) and music (Matt Redman’s “Twenty-Seven Million” or Jenny and Tyler’s cover of “The Sound of Silence”) are getting the statistics on slavery out to the world - and working to change those statistics. My personal favorite organization is Christine Caine’s A21 Campaign, which was birthed as the Hillsong speaker sat in a Greek airport and saw children’s faces on poster after poster. They were missing. Taken. Trafficked. Her heart broke for them.
It reminds me a lot of Nehemiah.
Nehemiah was cupbearer for the king, living at this Persian royalty resort far away from Jerusalem. He got word that the holy city was still ruined and no one was doing anything about it. They didn’t even rebuild the wall, their only protection against enemies. They were a broken people in a broken city, both in need of restoration. I find it astonishing that Nehemiah’s heart broke for ruined Jerusalem even though he was far away in a completely different context, maybe not rich but doing pretty well comparatively. It was still a place he cared about deeply enough to weep, enough to fast, enough to cry out to God on their behalf.
Do you have a tender heart like Nehemiah?
That’s a hard question to answer when we are faced with relentless campaigns, tweets, news reports, statistics, viral videos… all reminding us that we live in a broken world full of broken people. A very large Jerusalem. It’s easy to get jaded, overwhelmed or even bored with all of the calls to social justice around us.
Until we have an encounter with it. Until it hits home. Until our hearts are broken for the things that break God’s heart.
At the beginning of the song “Twenty-Seven Million,” Matt Redman and LZ7’s calls to “rise up” are preceded by this quote from Christine Caine:
“It astounds me that not only does human trafficking exist on the earth today, but there are actually more slaves that there have ever been before in the history of humanity. It’s almost incomprehensible.”
More slaves than ever. As one pre-chorus in the song says: “Twenty-seven million, like me / Twenty-seven million that need heaven’s mercy”
Twenty-seven million. Like us. Do we really see injustice and think “these are my people, fellow children of God, out there hurting?” Do we pray like Nehemiah “God, what can I do? How can you use me in this situation?”
It may not be human trafficking or devastated cities that you are called to run to. It may be the kids in your home, your youth group, your city… or something God has yet to reveal. But let us always have hearts that are breakable, willing to say “here I am! Send me!” when we find that calling. At first the tragedy around us may seem incomprehensible in scope, but we can take a stand with the knowledge that the God we are serving is infinitely bigger.
“Let this be the stand that gets your blood running…”