Guest post by Zach Pomeroy, Restore One volunteer and abolitionist. Check out his blog here.
“She was sold as a child.”
As those solemn words traveled down a concrete hall, I was certain that my fifteen-year-old ears had deceived me. Each word became a reality as the story unraveled before me.
As I listened with more intent and hopes that those words were not true, the story became even more horrific. This girl had in fact been sold. Her parents were lured into a scheme of darkness to trade their daughter for a fleeting monetary value.
The people who offered a monetary exchange for this little girl’s life practiced Wicca. They wanted to perform rituals on an actual person and this girl was the victim.
For the first time in 2007, I realized the significance of that concrete building which was purposefully situated in that small mountain village of Nicaragua. It was those concrete walls that delivered that message to my ears with such clarity, but it was also those concrete walls that provided a safe refuge for children who had been sold, abandoned, forgotten, and abused.
That evening, I closed my eyes with the intent of crying out to God in frustration, “Where O God is the justice in this moment?”
Before I could let out that cry, my mind flooded with images of the scars this beautiful girl bore. On her arms and face were burn marks that were purposefully inflicted on her. I became nauseous and opened my eyes. Focused on each breath that my lungs expanded to let in, I opened my devotional.
My eyes immediately focused on the word:
“Bienaventuras los que tienen hambre y
sed de justicia, porque ellos serán saciados.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and
thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”
I cried out, “O God I am starving and parched for justice.”
But in that moment, God began to reveal a very specific truth to me as he did with the Samaritan woman in John 4. I was standing beside an empty hole in the ground looking for water. As much as those hunger pangs made me nauseous, I could not take away the injustice done to that beautiful girl. Even though my mouth was dry, I could not provide the healing water that she or I needed.
Dear brothers and sisters, if you have also reached a place where the hunger pangs are nauseating and your mouth is so dry it is cracking, I urge you, do NOT give up.
Maybe you are on the front lines fighting injustice yet you are standing beside a hole in the ground. Time after time you lower your pail into the hole expecting to get an abundance of water. Yet each time you pull it out, with disappointment, only to discover it is as empty as it was when you first lowered it.
Maybe the fight for justice has overwhelmed you so much you decided to give up. You abandoned your empty pail a while ago. You have settled for a self-satisfying life, because if we’re honest, all you ever got from fighting injustice was exhaustion.
Maybe fear has crippled you. You look inwardly and see shame, guilt and doubt. You ask yourself, “How can I bring healing to others, when all I see in my life is brokenness?” This fear has kept you at a distance from the Well of Living Water, because there is a deep lie telling you, “Jesus can’t heal you and even if He could, why would He choose you?”
Take some time to go back to the first time you discovered you were standing beside an empty hole in the ground. Do you hear the voice of Jesus saying:
“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
Indeed, the water that I give them will become a
spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
What I found that evening in Nicaragua was a promise, “If you drink deeply from the waters that I give, you will never grow thirsty. In fact, the water that you drink from will become a deep well of water that springs up to eternal life.” I found a Well of Living Water who understood the anger and tears of injustice and invited me to join Him on the mission of His heart. Just like the Samaritan woman, I found purpose to pray for that beautiful girl and to share the love of Jesus with her. “Then the woman left her water jar went into town, and told the men, ‘Come see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?’ They left the town and made their way to Him.”
Maybe it is time for you to abandon that empty hole and drink deeply from the Well of Living Water.
Below are just a few practical steps:
Do not forsake the Well of Living Water. He longs to sustain and fill you continually. If you walk away, remember that His grace-filled arms long for you to come back.
You are not created to do this alone. Get involved with a local organization working on the front lines of injustice. Ask your community to support and pray for you. Encourage your community to get involved with you.
Stay informed. Do not underestimate the power of knowledge in this fight against darkness. Study the words of Jesus so they are ingrained in your heart and flow off your tongue. Read blogs, articles and books written by other Freedom Fighters.
Get involved. You have a unique role in the Kingdom of God. Do not believe for a minute that you are insignificant and cannot make an impact. If you are unsure about your role, ask the Well, you’re community and local organizations how you can get involved.
An excerpt from the Franciscan Prayer of Discomfort:
“May God bless you with holy anger at injustice,
oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may
work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those
who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort
them and to turn their pain into joy.”