by Stephanie Olson, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries/Executive Director of The Set Me Free Project
Last week we talked about the importance of human dignity and the sanctity of life. The reason that human trafficking can even exist is because we don’t have the understanding of how God looks at humans—how He looks at us.
I have to echo Cindy’s words in her blog a couple of weeks ago. We, as a ministry, really wanted nothing to do with the subject of human trafficking. I mean, who would? It’s an incredibly dark and evil world. One that the majority of us can’t comprehend. And yet, it’s a reality in not only our world, but also our state and our city. Now, there may be some of you who might be reading this saying, Yes, it may be happening in her city, but it certainly isn’t happening in my city, my town, my rural area. Well, unfortunately, yes it is.
It is so much easier to put our hands over our ears and sing la, la, la, la, la. Believe me, I’ve been there. But human trafficking is a $99 billion a year business on a global level. $99 billion! Sex trafficking and labor trafficking is big business. And why not? You can sell drugs, for example, and the drugs are gone as soon as someone snorts them up his nose. But you can sell a person, a human being, over and over and over again. Frightening.
Now, for those of you who have followed me or know me at all, you know that I’ve struggled with fear for a long time. In fact, the fear I struggle with is very specific to my children. When my daughter Noel was born, my fear grew so intense that I would check on her every half hour while she slept to make sure she was still breathing. My fear grew so intense I often wouldn’t venture outside for fear something horrible might happen. It was only when a friend of mine told me that fear wasn’t of God that I began to deal with it through the power of Jesus Christ.
And as a parent who understands the realities of human trafficking, my fear rises often. And then I remember Who is in control.
After I had shared something from The Set Me Free Project on my own personal Facebook page, one of my friends commented, “Okay … so where's the bubble I need to keep my kids in until they are grown adults?” Exactly. Where is the bubble? Well, I’m afraid we don’t have a bubble, but we do have a God who loves our children more than we do. A God whose heart breaks at the face of this evil even more than we do.
I wrote this in a previous blog from 2012 titled "Why?"
I have found myself bursting into tears and wanting to be close to my own children and wrap them in the tightest hug. I continue to pray for protection over my children and fight my own fear because of this world we live in.
So, how do we trust God when things just don’t make sense? I think it’s important to throw our hands up and cry out to Him when we don’t understand what is happening. “Why God, why does this happen?” We may not find out the reasons, but Exodus 34:6-7 speaks of God’s own description of Himself saying, “Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin.”
He is a compassionate and gracious God. Those of us who are parents understand that in life we typically see a bigger picture than our children do. And God sees a much bigger picture than we do in all things. And just like our goal with our children is always to have their best interest at heart, even when it doesn’t make sense to them, our loving Heavenly Father has our best interest at heart. We may not always see the big picture, but we can trust that He loves us and wants only the best for us. And if we truly trust Him, we can rest in Him and know that, ultimately, He will take care of things, including justice for the victims.
I think we must also recognize that God doesn’t necessarily cause bad things to happen in life, but He does allow bad things to happen. We are in a fallen world; there is sin; we have an enemy who has come “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” He hates us, he hates you, and he wants to see us destroyed. But Jesus? Jesus loves us more than we can ever comprehend. He loves us with a love beyond measure and when we are hurting, He grieves with us.
Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” He loves us so much that He collects our tears!
But be assured that anything that God allows—not causes, but allows—to happen in our lives, will be used to fulfill our destiny in Him and be used for His glory, because God wastes absolutely nothing. We may not see it right away, or even until we are on the other side of that Glory, but we will see it. What Satan intends for harm, God will turn into good and something that can, and will, glorify Him.
As parents, let’s not put our heads in the sand and live in fear. Instead, let’s equip ourselves to fight this battle and protect our children. Let’s stop the demand of human trafficking, both labor and sex. Let’s fight this together!
The Set Me Free Project can come to your schools, youth groups, and community to educate kids, parents, and leaders. Let’s not go into this battle in ignorance. Let’s learn, fight, and win!