Holy Spirit Q&A with Francis Chan
- Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Two years ago at a dinner I sat next to a man who runs a human-trafficking awareness organization. He described how these children, most of whom were sold or abducted into the sex trade, are raped and abused every single night, again and again, how they have no one to advocate for them, and how there is no way out.
That night I lay awake in my bed for hours—literally hours—and I imagined my own children in this situation. Maybe that was a stupid thing to do, but suddenly, vividly, I was sobbing and I couldn't get the images out of my mind. I started thinking about what I would do if this really happened to my little girl. I know that I wouldn't stop until I had saved her. I would mobilize everyone I know through whatever means possible to get them to help. Lying there in my bed that night I got more and more passionate about everything I would do to save my little girl.
Then something happened. I am not one of those people who often hears God's distinct, clear voice (though I know some people do), but on this night, the Spirit of God said to me: I want you to love them as your own children. This was overwhelming to me. After all, if I treated these kids as though they were my own, I wouldn’t stop praying for them. I also wouldn’t stop passionately begging people to figure out ways to seek them out and rescue them. I literally wept for hours. The thought of these precious children of mine being taken advantage of was unbearable. I was now on a mission. A mission from God.
I remember getting back to Cornerstone and “rallying the troops.” I was so fired up, and I got others fired up. But, over the course of several months I got distracted. People around me started calming me down about sex trafficking. They said, “Francis, you can't save the world” and “You're already doing so much. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
Things like this happen all the time. As a church, we tend to do this to people who are passionate and bold. We mellow them out. Institutionalize them. Deaden them to the work that the Spirit is doing in them. Instead of encouraging people who are doing courageous things for God and joining them in their discernment process of how to be faithful to what God is calling them to, we tell them to slow down and back off.
Don’t let other churchgoers dissuade you from your call. May you stand strong as you move toward passionate love and sacrifice!
How has the Holy Spirit called your family to live more boldly?
My wife and I recently decided to give all of the royalties from my previous book, Crazy Love, to a fund called the Isaiah 58 Fund. All of the money goes to the needy in the world—the starving, sick, impoverished, and to those in the sex slave trade. We reasoned that if we kept all this money, we would end up spending it on things we didn’t need. We knew that in the long run (eighty years from now), there would be no regrets. But if we bought things that wouldn’t last beyond our time on earth, we would end up disappointed and regretful. I was a bit shocked and discouraged by some of the responses we received.
People told us that we were being foolish and irresponsible with the gifts that God gave us. They said we should have at least put some away in case of an emergency. My response back was, “Is it not an emergency that children in Cambodia and Thailand and even the U.S. are being raped every single day of their lives? Why is that not an emergency?” I think the church often inadvertently teaches that this is not an emergency. And this, I believe is sin. Is an emergency only an emergency if it affects me and my immediate family?
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