The Journey to Justice: Leaving the Movement Behind by Cindy Powell

The Journey to Justice: Leaving the Movement Behind by Cindy Powell

I’m leaving the justice movement. 

No, I haven’t given up. I haven’t stopped caring.  I certainly haven’t forgotten the voiceless, the captives, or the oppressed. I won’t stop speaking out and doing what I can to make a difference.

I just don’t want to be part of a “movement” anymore. I don’t want to be part of a cause. Instead, I want to see things actually move. More specifically, I want to see people move toward the heart of God.

There is an alarming trend among those who take on the fight against human trafficking—or any social justice issue, really. The “fight” becomes such a key part of the narrative. The fight becomes our identity. Offense is often excused because we feel it is justified. We become entrenched in duking it out with darkness. But darkness was soundly defeated on a Roman cross 2,000 years ago. Rather than fighting a defeated foe, I want to model living in the light. I want to model freedom and hope.

I want to model living in love.

Thankfully there are many already doing this and we love partnering with them. We want to focus on restorative justice, not retribution. On His extravagant love, and not on the fear generated by darkness.

Especially, we want to focus is on what He can do, and not what we can’t do.

Anyone who has been exposed to the harsh realities of human trafficking, particularly child sex trafficking, can’t help but feel provoked. It is heartbreaking and, at times, soul crushing. There is much at stake. While it’s absolutely true that darkness has already met its ultimate defeat, we haven’t yet fully apprehended the victory Jesus won. A very real battle continues to rage. Tragically, many individual battles—and lives—have been lost. There is still much to do. We shouldrespond passionately and persistently.

But let’s make sure we’re spending our energy in the right way and on the right things.

I love this quote from an artist friend, Aeron Brown. I was interviewing him for an article in Voices of Justice (the magazine I edit) and I asked him if he had any advice for creatives and other frontline workers who wanted to have long-term impact in areas of social injustice. This is what he said:

“Get heaven’s perspective on those issues. So many people want to run after a movement, or a cause, or an organization and you end up with a narrow vision. You can become so encompassed in your own hurt over an issue that your voice becomes muffled. It’s still a voice, but it’s a voice filtered through pain. You have to be grounded in the love of God, otherwise you end up with an agenda. If you don’t live like a much-loved child, the cause and the call will burn you out. The ones who don’t grow weary are the ones who know who they are and why they’re doing what they’re doing.”

To that I say “amen!” along with a heartfelt prayer that more and more of us will remember who we are and why we’re doing what we’re doing.  When we do, I suspect many more will be ready to leave the movement behind!

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”  -Galatians 6:9 NLT

Father, I ask for an increased revelation of identity and purpose to be released upon Your people. Keep us secure in Your love so we don’t lose heart. Instead of being part of a movement, may we move in alignment with Your heart so that each of us will fulfill our unique role in the transformational move of Your Spirit being released upon the earth. -Amen!

By Cindy Powell, October 2018 (Note: originally published on the Extreme Love Ministries Blog Sept 20, 2018T

The Journey to Justice is a regular devotional feature of Voices of Justice published with the goal of imparting encouragement and the grace to persevere to those on the frontlines in the fight against human trafficking. If you would like to submit a piece for either our blog or quarterly magazine, please email us at submissions@voicesofjustice.org

 

The Journey to Justice: Healing Rain by Cathy Cupp

The Journey to Justice: Healing Rain by Cathy Cupp

It was an unlikely place for a breakthrough… the killing fields just outside of Phnom Penh. Because of my tender nature, this was a painful place for me to visit. The killing fields are located throughout Cambodia and hold the remains of thousands of men, women, children, and infants who were killed during the Khmer Rouge back in the 1970’s. Every time I would go, I would hurt deeply for both the living and the dead in this gentle nation—for all who were affected by this great injustice, both then and now.  From my understanding, a measure, if not most of the brokenness, corruption, and issues of human trafficking today are a result of the effects of the genocide. As I would think about the trauma long after I would leave the grounds, it left me grieving over the losses with such a feeling of helplessness. What can I do? It just wasn’t fair, and the questions that I couldn’t answer would haunt me.

As we were heading to the killing fields once again one day to host a new group who had come to serve with our team, I opted out this time and decided to stay back and pray for the group as they toured the fields.  However, after a powerful teaching that morning on authority and identity, a new strength from the Holy Spirit rose up in me, and I knew that He wanted me to face my giant.

I prayed and worshiped the whole way to the killing fields and set my gaze on Jesus. Although what the former generations went through was a massive tragedy, the comfort and revelation I received in my heart was that there is a generation nowamong the living who come from the generations of those who died that we can reach with the hope, the life, and love of Jesus. He is the hope for Cambodia (Matthew 12:21)and He alone can heal broken hearts and mend the soul of the nation. “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

As the rest of the group started on the tour, I held back near the front gate, as I wasn’t quite sure if I would stay there or go through the fields and pray. Shortly after, a drizzle started. Then it rained a bit harder. Finally, the rain turned into a downpour.

As I quickly sought shelter under a covering, I marveled at how quickly the rain had come after we arrived. Within moments, I felt that this was a “cleansing rain,” and I was sensing an invitation from God Himself to come out into the rain… to be cleansed of the heavy burdens that I had been carrying for the nation and to release them back to Him.

Taking off my poncho, despite the bewildered stares of onlookers, I responded to His invitation and walked out into the rain. Raising my arms and putting my face to the sky as the rain poured over me, I was cleansed both inside and out. I danced. I cried. I released.  That brief moment was a lifetime shift. It truly was the breakthrough my heart needed to move forward in effective ministry in the nation.

As I conclude, I am praying for each person reading this, and my prayer for you is that todaywould be your day to experience a breakthrough in every single area of your life that is being held in any form of bondage. He is the God of breakthroughs! (Micah 2:13)

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Cathy Cupp is partnering with Extreme Love Ministries in Cambodia to help in the PREVENTION, RESCUE, AND AFTERCARE of women and children caught in modern day slavery through the sex tourism epidemic. She also TRAINS teachers, who will then nurture and teach at-risk children and those who have been rescued from sex trafficking and also have special needs (i.e. Down Syndrome, Autism, etc.) She is also director of the KIDS’ JUSTICE HOUSE OF PRAYER (KJHP), raising up children and teens in the slums in worship and intercession for their nation and families, and how to hear the voice of God.

The Journey to Justice is a regular devotional feature of Voices of Justice published with the goal of imparting encouragement and the grace to persevere to those on the frontlines in the fight against human trafficking. If you would like to submit a piece for either our blog or quarterly magazine, please email us at submissions@voicesofjustice.org

 

The Journey to Justice: Embracing the Journey by Cindy Powell

The Journey to Justice: Embracing the Journey by Cindy Powell

I saw it happen over and over again. Years ago, when I worked for a large missions organization, I loved to watch our missionaries head out to their long-term field assignments filled with fire and passion—certain they would see God move in mighty ways. What I didn’t love so much was watching many of these same committed servants of the Lord return several years later—weary, discouraged, and burned out.  Some were disappointed that God didn’t do everything they expected to see Him do.  A few were even angry and bitter.

Then there were others. To be honest, they were the minority. But they were the ones who stood out. The ones who didn’t just press in through incredibly difficult circumstances—they flourished. They joyfully and tenaciously plowed hard ground year after year. They celebrated every small victory, even as they honestly grieved the very real losses and delays.

In short, they embraced the journey.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to miss where you’re going on the way to it? By that I mean sometimes we are so anxious to “arrive” that we miss the beauty of the journey. It is good and necessary to believe for breakthrough, and to move purposefully toward the promises of God, but the promises themselves are not the reward.  Jesus is the reward.  So often I find I’m in a hurry to get somewhere, when all the Lord really wants me to do is take His hand and experience the daily joy of walking with Him.

He wants me to embrace the journey.

But how do we embrace the journey when confronted with areas of gross injustice such as human trafficking? In this context, it can seem incredibly difficult and counter-intuitive. When you feel the enormous weight of issues God Himself has seared upon your soul … when you know the urgency of the need … when your heart is broken by the things that break His … you are compelled to act, If you aren’t doing everything you can possibly do, it may feel as though you aren’t giving it your all.

But is working ourselves to exhaustion and trying to move mountains in our own strength really what it means to give all?

If we attempt to invest our “all” in a cause, or in anyone or anything other than the only One found worthy, we move outside of heaven’s best. We move outside of heaven’s timing. Apart from the ongoing outpouring of love and grace that flows from divine partnership, embracing the journey for the long haul is not only difficult—it is impossible.

When Jesus ministered on the earth within the limitations of a human body, He didn’t try to do everything. He was aware of every issue, every heartache, every injustice, and every need, but He stayed focused on His specific call and mission. He only did what He saw the Father doing and He glorified the Father by finishing the work He was given to do (see John 5:19 and John 17:4).

If the Son of God Himself only did what He saw the Father doing, how much more do we need to do the same?  But to only do what we see Him doing, we need to actually be able to see the Father. That takes intimate relationship and sustained connection. Jesus simply called it abiding. It is the fruit of time in His presence and in His Word.  It is the fruit of surrender and trust. It is taking His hand each and every day and moving to the rhythm of His heart, engaged in the sacred dance of divine partnership.

And that, my friends, is the journey.

“Therefore,since we are surroundedby such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” –Hebrew 12:1-2 NLT (emphasis mine)

I pray your hearts are refreshed today as you fix your eyes on Jesus, take His hand, and embrace your unique journey!

~Cindy Powell August, 2018

The Journey to Justice is a regular devotional feature of Voices of Justice published with the goal of imparting encouragement and the grace to persevere to those on the frontlines in the fight against human trafficking. If you would like to submit a piece for either our blog or quarterly magazine, please email us at submissions@voicesofjustice.org

 

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