I had the privilege of spending all last week serving at Passion 2013 in downtown Atlanta at the Georgia Dome and World Congress Center. Sixty thousand young adults ages 18-25 (including Laura and Ryan) gathered together to worship, learn and boldly lift up the name of Jesus. Louie Giglio, conference founder and speaker, opened the first session with a talk centered on the restorative power of God. He reminded the young people that through Jesus, God is able to break any addictions, heal any brokenness, and remove any bondage. He pointed us to Ephesians 3:20 to help us remember that no matter how hopeless a situation may seem, God is able to bring about change and do “immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.”
The second day of the conference, as a part of the “End It Movement” (http://enditmovement.com/,) Louie returned to show us a video of a young Pilipino girl named Rachel who at the age of 12 was sold into sexual slavery for $73. She was compelled to dance in strip clubs, and forced into prostitution. The horror of her life increased as her innocence was shredded, and she was stripped of her most basic freedom and dignity. As she was about to be sold for the third time, the boat she was traveling on was raided at port, and she was liberated by workers from International Justice Mission. (http://www.ijm.org/) She was transferred to a home in another city run by Love146 Ministries (http://www.love146.org/) that provides survivor care for trafficked girls. It was there that she encountered the love of Jesus Christ expressed through His church, and her life began to change. She said that she has finally begun to feel free and whole.
At the end of the video, they raised the lights in the arena and introduced us to Rachel who was sitting in the audience. The spontaneous, thunderous roar and standing ovation from the students was deafening and moving. The moment concluded with the students praying outloud for God to continue her restoration and recovery. Her story put a face to the very real problem of human trafficking and has since become the catalyst for many of the students and behind-the-scenes workers to give sacrificially so that other victims could be rescued from similar situations.
As we left the Dome that night, I had time to reflect on what we’d seen and heard. It occurred to me that Rachel’s story was real life example of what Louie had told us less than a day before… that God can do “immeasurably more” to bring wholeness, even in the most desperate situations. I mean, while she was in the depths of slavery, could this young girl have ever dreamed that one day she would be applauded and prayed for by 60,000 college students? Or that the shame and horror she hopelessly endured, would be instrumental in freeing countless others from their similar prisons? It would have impossible for her to imagine such a moment…
but that’s our God!!
He does the impossible!!
As Isaiah 61 helps us understand that the mission of Jesus Christ goes far beyond just securing a place for us in heaven. Verse 3 says He was sent “to bestow on them a crown of beauty, instead of ashes; the oil of gladness, instead of mourning; and a garment of praise, instead of a spirit of despair.”
Rescue. Redemption. Restoration.
That’s not just for the “Rachels” of this world. It’s for everyone! God has a rescue operation planned and tailored just for you! No situation is too hopeless for God to reach into and bring His transforming grace! If you don’t know Him at all, He is able to rescue you from the darkness that you may not even realize surrounds you… and if you are a believer, your rescue is an operation in progress. He is constantly working to deliver you from the futility of living for yourself and longs to restore you fully to Himself.
Our God is the God of “immeasurably more!”
Turn to Him and not away from Him and you will see great things!
Let us join the prayer that Andy Stanley prayed at the close of day one of Passion 2013 –
Heavenly Father, I believe You can do immeasurably more in me.
Please give me eyes to see the immeasurably more you want to do through me!
In Jesus Name