July 5, 2010
Priceless in His Sight
Ariel Allison Lawhon, She Reads Co-Director
"How priceless is Your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings." Psalm 36:7 (NIV)
Like many other Russian orphans, Masha was forced out of an orphanage at 15 and sent to a tech school - an underfunded holding tank for kids who learn how to lay brick or paint walls. One day, a group of professional looking, wealthy women came to the school and interviewed the girls for the best jobs in Russia. They were promised fancy clothes, expensive jewelry, and all the money they could hope for. Masha was chosen, and assumed her dreams had come true.
However, she quickly realized this dream had turned into an ugly nightmare.
She was taken to an apartment and beaten. In a matter of hours she would be entering the sex trade. The life that loomed before her was one of forced prostitution.
This is a story that's repeated across the globe in staggering numbers. In Eastern Europe alone, 200,000 women and children are sold into slavery every year. Innocents shipped off to brothels, never reported missing and never rescued. The sex trade is now a multi-billion dollar industry and the United States is one of the biggest consumers. I imagine Jesus weeping. We should as well.
Though some consider these women and children a commodity, something to be bought and sold, God sees their worth: priceless, cherished, beautiful. Our value as human beings is not calculated in assets or financial holdings, gender or age, or what we can bring on some shady black market auction block, but as image-bearers of God. Every human is priceless because we are formed by the hand of God for His glory, made for a purpose that was never meant to include slavery or violation. We believe this. And we must put that faith into action.
The good news is that not every story ends in suffering. Masha, for one, escaped her terrible fate. As she waited in that apartment for a group of men to claim her, she remembered a ministry center sponsored by Children's HopeChest - an organization run by She Reads author Tom Davis. She remembered being cared for and shown the love of Christ there. Masha escaped the apartment and ran to the HopeChest Ministry Center in Kostroma where the staff immediately called the authorities and gave her protection.
Today she is safe, receiving an education, and has a future - because of the caring work of believers, believers just like you and me. There is hope for girls like Masha and there are tangible things that every believer in Christ can do to help those who are not as fortunate. Starting with prayer…
Dear Lord, would You have mercy on the countless victims who are locked away, suffering the unspeakable? Comfort them. Redeem them. Be their hope and their ransom. But more than that, Jesus, would You show me what I can do to help? Show me how to be a voice for mercy and justice. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
She Reads author, Tom Davis, knows what it means to walk into the darkest places on earth and show mercy. His novel Priceless tells the gripping story of a young Russian girl swept into the sex trade. The novel is this month's She Reads selection - visit the site to learn more about the novel and enter today's giveaway for coffee and a copy!
Consider sponsoring a child and help them be released from poverty through Compassion International - your sponsorship could keep them off the streets and safe from the slavery trade.
Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most by Dr. Wess Stafford
Visit Tom Davis's blog, www.sheispriceless.com to learn how you can help those trapped in the sex slave industry.
Pray that God's mercy will extend to every victim of this horrible situation.
Give to ministries that rescue women and children from the sex trade.
Sponsor orphans in need of shelter and protection.
Get educated on the realities of the sex slave industry.
Be vigilant to watch for victims near you - it happens in every city in the United States.
Does my heart break over the things that break God's heart?
Isaiah 43:1, "But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.'" (NIV)
Zechariah 7:9, "This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.'" (NIV)
© 2010 by Ariel Allison Lawhon. All rights reserved.
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