By Lisa Fischer
I can still see her so vividly. The shape of her eyes, the curves of her face, her black hair pulled loosely behind her petite frame, her beautiful Nepali complexion. Nearly a year later, she is still emblazoned fresh on my heart.
She was young. Probably no more than fifteen. She was propped against the storefront’s threshold as she stared out blankly. Her eyes were empty. I imagined how beautiful her smile probably was and I wondered the last time her painted lips held one. I guessed it had been a while.
As we walked by her on that dusty vendor alleyway in a local district of Kathmandu, I dreamed for her. I dreamed of a freedom she didn’t even know to dream for herself. She was a living advertisement, a sex slave. And I was twenty feet from her.
As I have steeped myself into the horrors of human trafficking, I have learned that the John McClain approach of busting down brothel doors and carrying out girls is ineffective and damaging. And while I long for the day this heinous industry goes bankrupt and 27 million shackles hit the ground in resounding freedom, I want something for her that she can have right now, even right there in that brothel. I want her to have Jesus. Because if she’s going to live in the valley of the shadow of death, I want her to know. He’s there. Right beside her. Loving her. And wherever she goes, He goes with her. He sees everything. And there is coming a Day of Judgment. I want her to know real Hope. I want her to know the freedom available to her right now in Christ. I hope for her to believe in the God of angel armies.
I lock eyes with her. And I whisper Jesus all over her. Give Him away. And I pray. I pray that His name miraculously makes it to her heart and He sweeps her off her feet. And then I have to let it all go. Let her go. Keep walking. And it tears me apart yet I still carry hope that she can have Him, that she will know Him.
As I settle into this wilderness of Lent, I think of my time in Nepal. And I think of Jesus being “led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1) Not to give up food, but to be tempted. It wasn’t to test His ability to give something up but it was an exercise to take something up wholly into Himself. The Father’s will to serve His people, to bring His Kingdom to earth.
I’m learning this is why we enter the wilderness. To open our clenched fists. To fix our eyes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith. To take Him up wholly into ourselves. To lean in fully to His will. So that we can give God away. So we can proclaim the good news to the poor. To proclaim freedom for the prisoners. To minister to the least of these. To serve the broken and contrite in spirit. To pour ourselves out like a drink offering on His people, as an act of worship. Because He is worthy.
We are God’s plan to finish what Jesus started on earth. This world is dying. And broken. And enslaved. Managing problems in darkness and shame. They need Jesus. They need love. They need to know they are not alone. We all do. And we have something we can give. Right now. Right where we are.
I think I had forgotten. I had forgotten the joy that comes in giving Him away so freely. Even in the valley of the shadow of death. Especially there. I had forgotten what it was like to be broken and poured out. I’ve been stuck on broken. In the dryness of the wilderness, the salve of the gospel is still doing its thing. And I just can’t keep that to myself.
How can you simply and freely give Him away today? Right where you are.