Help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon (Isaiah 58:10 NLT).
I’m camping out in Chapter 58 of the book of Isaiah for a few more days. This chapter gives the longest set of instructions I could find on fasting from God, Himself. As I study Isaiah 58, I’m struck by how much it matters to God that fasting should include interceding for those unjustly oppressed. Maybe that’s why our fasting and prayer for Saeed’s release from imprisonment felt so right. Sometimes, we experience God most profoundly when we pour out our lives for the broken of this world. This truth came alive for my friend Bekah in the most unlikely of places.
GUEST BLOG: THE POWER OF TOUCH By Bekah Brinkley
I was recently on a mission trip to Haiti when the Lord graciously showed me how powerful touch can be. Touch can bring hope and healing or it can degrade and destroy. I was struck by this contrast while ministering to prostitutes in a brothel in the middle of a seaside Haitian village.
As I held the hand of each woman, looked into her eyes and smiled, tenderly massaged lotion into her skin, and carefully painted her fingernails, I felt Him. Emmanuel, God with us. One by one, each new friend received a tap on the shoulder for her next “appointment” where sadly, she would encounter a very different type of touch.
These women are accustomed to a touch that degrades, uses, and devalues. I was able to touch these women and bring hope, love, tenderness, and joy…but only through Jesus. I cannot bring any of those things in my own strength, for I, too, am broken and in need of healing touch. After all, the ground is level at the foot of the Cross.
We are each His beloved. His touch binds our broken hearts and makes us whole. His touch brings life, hope, and dignity. His touch says, “You are loved. You are beautiful. Not because of what you can give Me or do for Me, but because you are Mine. I know you and I love you. I bought you in love to set you free. Now go and live in the freedom of My love for you.” In this context, these words come alive: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1).
While I painted their fingernails, my new friends shared openly how they long for another way to provide for their families, but they don’t feel they have a choice. There is already a limited job market in Haiti and many of these women are illiterate. It broke my heart to watch them wrestle with the desire to live differently, but not have the opportunity to do so. Their children are hungry, and rice and beans are often payment for sex. What’s a mom to do?
Lord, this can’t be right. Please restore their dignity. Make another way for these women to use their minds, their hands, and their voices. They are beautiful. They are Yours. I know You have greater plans for each one of them. Make a way, I beg You.
My mind began racing with ideas. But my prideful heart began to explode and He brought me to my knees when these women asked if they could paint my fingernails in return. Oh, what tenderness. Oh, what a gift. I am a woman undone.
God doesn’t need me, but He loves me and chooses to use me in His story of hope and redemption. He works in me. He works through me. He is relentless in His pursuit of my full affection. He used women working as prostitutes to minister to my soul with simple strokes of a beautiful maroon nail polish as I sat in the center of a brothel in a seaside village in Haiti. That’s my God. That’s how far He will go to pursue my undivided affection.