My good friend Sarah, who spent last year in Sierra Leone, sent me a letter a few weeks ago. In it, she said to read Habakkuk. A small book. An minor OT prophet, the whole of which fills up three pages in my Bible. I have to admit, I don't often get over to Habakkuk.
I read it last night, and I am so glad I did. Habakkuk asks a lot of questions of the Lord, questions of why injustice and violence continue, questions of where the Lord is and why nothing seems to be happening. The same questions I've been asking for the last month.
Saturday is the international day of fasting and prayer for sex trafficking. As we prepare for this day, the girls of the red-light district are heavy on my mind and heart. In Habakkuk, I see their story. Did you know that most of the girls who live and work in Kolkata's brothels are not there by choice? Did you know that thousands of girls every year are tricked into prostituting because a "friend" has lured them away from their villages with promises of good work? Others come because their husbands have died or left, and their families won't accept them back into the fold.
Habakkuk laments that
"The wicked foe pulls [people] up with hooks, he catches them in his net,
he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad.
...for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food.
Is he to keep on emptying the net,
destroying nations without mercy?" (1:16-17)
My heart tore at these verses, for I see the women who prostitute as the fish caught up in the nets of the wicked. So many are pulled into the trade by evil people who sell the bodies and souls of young girls for profit. As a poor woman in India, there's really not a lot of places to go if no one is offering you help. These women become trapped in the nets.
The Lord answers Habakkuk, assuring him that the answer is coming. "Though it linger, wait for it," says God. "It will certainly come." (2:3)
I find that I am in that waiting place. I wait in the foyer of tension. I hope. I pray. I fight. Yet it is a battle to sustain those actions, because the enemy is pushing back hard. "The righteous will live by faith," God continues. So I--we--keep faith.
We know what is coming. The fulfillment of this faith, the other side of the finish-tape line:
"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2:14)
This is my heart-cry. For myself, for the girls in the brothels, for all the nations. That all will be filled with "the knowledge of the glory of the Lord."
If you would, join me in praying on Saturday. Thanks for your prayers. I may have mentioned this already, but your prayers are a TREMENDOUS blessing.