From the womb and into the world, we remain babies, kicking at the sound of certain voices and distinct sounds. We are equipped with a recognition device, one that lights up every time we see a familiar face or smell a scent that brings back a memory.
On more special occasions, this recognition device lights up to the point of a very warm feeling in the belly, of finally learning we are made for something bigger than we are, like a baby realizing it is inside its mommy.
“Significance over success,” one lawyer said during this evening’s prayer gathering for victims of human trafficking. He was on his way to becoming the next big thing in politics, exchanging handshakes and smiles with the most influential people in the country. It was a tough call to get out of the limelight and follow God’s leading to the darkest dungeons in the province, where abused women did not weep for what they did not know. What he said undid me, for for the past days I had been wondering about things I could achieve and things I could be famous for, and I had forgotten all about a vision I received a year ago. At that moment, my heart was reset and a plan for my life was laid bare before my eyes.
Justice for human trafficking and exploitation is not an elusive dream. I was a witness to that during the prayer gathering where several lawyers and a social worker testified to the sovereignty of God and the swiftness of His justice. It was very heartbreaking when one of the lawyers revealed that girls as young as five were being sexually exploited. But God does not allow abuse to linger and go unpunished. For the past year alone, more than a hundred women and children were rescued and put in aftercare by a single organization. In addition to the rescues, criminals composed of bar-owners and pimps were convicted in less than nine months, a breakthrough in the Philippine justice system. A lot may seem to have been accomplished, but the enemy never tires and continues to prowl. And so we remain steadfast.
Let me take a famous song’s chorus out of context:
“God, tell us the reason
Youth is wasted on the young
It’s hunting season
And the lambs are on the run
Searching for meaning
But are we all lost stars
Trying to light up the dark?”*
Most of the victims don’t even know they’re being exploited because they don’t know where else to turn to and where to get significance from. Some of the girls never experienced going to school, making new friends in the neighborhood, or getting a new toy for their fifth birthday.
My prayer for you, dear reader, is this: That you will finally recognize that bigger thing which you were made for, and know with all your heart that you are more than a self with individual desires and individual wants. You are not detached from the community you are moving and breathing in. What breaks your heart to see around you could be your very heart, your little role to play in this world. Pray with me.
*Adam Levine, Lost Stars
An attendee posting his prayer points for the justice movement.