“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard...if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong;and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in."
I am thankful for our LORD who brings healing, satisfaction, protection, and restoration to His children. He came for the oppressed, the hungry, the homeless, the naked, the shamed, the sick, the poor, the broken. You and I are those broken people. We need Him.
I have been learning about women who feel an oppression I will probably never experience or ever fully understand. These are women who are trapped in sex-trafficking, who need the LORD to bring full restoration to their lives. Their spiritual need is no greater than mine and their lives are just as precious to God as mine.
- "The most common age of entry into the commercial sex industry is 12-14 years old." (http://www.gems-girls.
- "Sex traffickers frequently target vulnerable people with histories of abuse and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims involved in the sex industry." (http://www.polarisproject.
- Sex-trafficking looks different all around the world, but it is taking place in the US and not all that far from our homes. Last year, Angela Schmidt came to Crossroads to speak about Daughters' House, an organization that does outreach in our community to women who are sexually exploited or abused. She shared that the ministry is growing and in great need of people to pray and to come alongside these women to share Christ's love and offer assistance to find food, shelter, toiletries, work, etc. It takes more than a few people and a few encounters with these women to undo the lies that they have been taught to believe about who they are, why they exist, and how much they are valued. (http://restorestlouis.org/
This passage in Isaiah cannot be ignored by any one of us, although it makes me uncomfortable as I struggle with what that looks like for me to live a life that reflects this. But it clearly calls for God's people to take action, to be a part of God's story of restoration. We are by no means required to save the world, yet we must pray that God would be at work, restoring our city, making all things new. Asking for His guidance on where He may be calling us to serve Him. The incredible part of Isaiah 58 is seeing that just as God was present with his people Israel, He is with us and He will guide us, strengthen us, and equip us to do this work that He has given us.
I would challenge you to look at the passions and abilities that God has gifted you with and to think about where God is calling you to redeem our culture. Are you pouring yourself out as the LORD poured himself out for you?
"For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness."