I remember this moment.
No… I am trying to hold onto this moment. Trying not to forget the burden of obedience, to remember what I felt like as He grabbed my shoulders and held me up, “You can do this Brianne, you can make it through this. You love me, you don’t believe it, but I see it.”
I was at that point in the race where I was climbing the hill, trying to remember why I began running and the only thing louder than my small attempts at encouragement was my heavy, pain-filled breath. The only thing more unlikely than the victory was how unprepared for defeat I was.
But I did, I ran that race. I finished, I saw the end of the tunnel. I clung onto the Lord like I knew my life would be dust without His say, without Him. I called on His name as if I were Jacob wrestling in the woods, David hiding in the cave, Mary shattering the alabaster jar.
And now…I can’t remember her name.
It was 5:00pm, we were split into groups of 2 with one translator. We walked into the red light district together and slowly branched off. 2 would go to that bar, another 2 to this bar and this bar and that bar. Finally Danni and I split off into a bar with a depiction of Satan as a sign to lure in the customers.
I climb onto the bar stool and ask for a diet coke. That was my “in”, I had 5 minutes to talk to the girl serving me. To plant some seed, to love her, to ask her if she wanted the night off. I had 5 minutes to tell my anger and rage to lye down while I delicately surveyed the situation and requested the Holy Spirit to allow me words of life. 5 minutes. But I hear, that can be an eternity to the Lord. So I sat. I listened.
She turned to get my drink and as she turned she unveiled a very young girl sitting on a box, crying. I could not mistake her dismay or her position, she was hiding. I was shocked, she was young. There is something in me that broke like I never knew could. I had come face to face with a human life about to be bought. A human life about to be used and delighted in as if she were some kind of commodity, some piece of material to be taken and returned. She was no longer seen as “her” but as “it”.
I ask her how old she is.
She tells me (through my translator) that this is her first night. She has no choice, her family must eat and her father and mother agreed.
I act quickly, the sun is going down and we are only given 20 minutes for our protection. I tell the translator this is the girl I would like to take out to dinner with my group. She communicates to one of the ladies. I do not take my eyes off her, I need to see her reaction. Her tears vanish, her face lights up. It was as if someone had come to her and said, “I can save you, I can save your life.” As she grabs her purse and I take out my 300 baht ($8), the bartender (who is the wife of the pimp) approaches me and with rage in her eyes tells me I can take any other lady but not her.
Physical weakness takes over my body, “No Lord, please let me save her, if just for one night. Please let me give her this night back.”
I tell my translator to convey that I will double the price and I pull out 600 baht.
“No, not her!” the bartender asserts.
This cannot be right, why not her? I pull out all my money. It is wadded and filling the palms of my hands.
“Ask her Tik, ask her how much, I will only gladly pay it.” Tik (my translator) asks the bartender with much passion, I know she is thinking as I am. We have joined the fight together. I can see my team coming out of the bars, ready to convene together. I listen intently as if I could understand Thai. Tik turns to me, “We cannot have her, she is a virgin…she will make good money tonight.”
And that was that.
I did something we were never created to do. I bargained for a human life.
I would have kept up the fight until my translator tugged on my arm, “It is time to go, it is getting dark.” I felt more defeated than I ever have in my whole life. This is the essence of human life not valued, the epitome of her value, given by the high and mighty Lord, taken and used to buy her family dinner for a week.
So what is the point? I could have cried all night and if I were not so exhausted from the day I probably would have. I fell asleep imagining myself in the arms of the Lord, the only comfort to such outrage and deep undisguised sorrow.
Though her name is far from me, this is what I can remember: He paid for me too. Only the price cost Him everything, the price cost Him humiliation and shame. The price requested Him to come off His throne… to bow down to weakness. To bow under the burden of all sin and wickedness. The price cost his enemy believing for a time that he had won and humanity was his.
Could you imagine loving like that? Could you imagine pouring yourself out for even one human being? Could you imagine loss of sleep, prayers filled with grief, a fellowship marked with disbelief, a lonely desert, breaking your body, spilling your blood…could you imagine carrying the cross for everyone? EVERYONE.
I did not know this girl, but i can see her face. Her tears will not leave my mind – the hope stolen still catches me off guard and takes my breath away. Any desire I had to release her, any promptness of mind to go and free her only came from the grand Pursuer.
They say He came to heal the sick. And give life abundant. I believe it. I have seen it. Even in what I looked on to be defeat. I know that 5 minutes with her was all I was given and I believe it was all He needed.
Was it worth it? Was it worth me working myself up and taking on her burden? Did I do more damage? I think about it often but I always come to the same conclusion, I always reconcile this grief with this:
For me, I would have risked more by not trying.
I’m so grateful He risked His life on me.
“But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.” -Isaiah 53:10
“As for me, it’s good to be near to You.” -Enter the worship circle