I was going through the motions, doing exactly the same things I do every single night. But something weighed heavily on my heart and soul. The day had been very different.
Isaiah 58:6 flashed through my mind once again as it had for a long time.
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?
I looked up and met my own eyes in the mirror.
Why so many others?
Why not me?
And I wept.
I sat on the chilly tile floor of a comfortable suburban home on the east coast, weeping for the plight of the oppressed.
It began with a picture of Falkland Road, a hub of the red-light district in Mumbai. My heart broke at the sight of locked, cage-like units containing women, even children, bought and sold with the same money that purchases the food and pays the rent.
One might think that these things exist only in foreign societies, but around the same time, I read an article that opened my eyes to the horrifying reality of human trafficking in the United States. Women of varying ages, some still well within their childhood years, merchandised via the internet and through widespread trafficking networks.
I don’t claim to be highly knowledgeable on the world of human trafficking, as I have yet to study the facts, figures, and statistics in depth. I don’t fully understand the laws surrounding this issue or the history of specific cases. But it didn’t take any of that for my heart to be angered by the injustice and grieved for the suffering of the oppressed.
These are not things of beauty. These are not things I understand. I don’t know why it happens to another seventeen-year-old girl, and not me. I don’t know why I have lived such a protected life while others haven’t. I don’t know why I’ve been spared from something so terrifying, but it makes me thankful.
About two years ago, God gave me Isaiah 58:6-12 as a “life passage,” a section of Scripture that encouraged me at the time but I sensed would take on deeper meaning as I matured. As I began researching human trafficking one morning this summer, my Bible lay open on the desk next to me, and I read the chapter again. Three words from verse 9 reverberated through my mind.
From your midst.
From YOUR midst.
Take away the yoke from your midst.
You have a purpose.
That moment has been followed by many prayers of “What yoke? Where in our midst? What am I to do about it?” I don’t have the answers yet. I don’t know what my part is in the mission of freeing modern-day slaves. But I am acutely aware of this issue, and full of compassion. It burns in my heart night and day. At this moment, my part is to pray. It is the privilege of every believer to intercede for the oppressed, to cry out before the throne of God that the yoke be lifted from our midst.
I eagerly await the day when it becomes clear how I can use my abilities, especially my gift of words, to seek justice and bring a voice to the downtrodden and disenfranchised.
To free the enslaved among us.