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The Dark Side of Grace

I have a friend who has worked for more than 20 years against human trafficking. She recently began working saving young people who are not trafficked for sex but for organs. She tried to share with me a testimony about a young woman her ministry saved, but I did not allow her to finish telling it to me.

I was sure the story was powerful, but the horror of what she was sharing was too much. I knew I would have nightmares if I continued listening to her. I apologized to her, telling her how much of a wimp I am, to which she replied: "Don't worry, friend, not everyone has the grace to walk where I walk," and we changed the subject.

After I hung up with my friend, the Lord began to speak to me about the dark side of His grace. By this, I do not mean that the grace of God is obscure; God is light. I mean that sometimes, He can ask us to walk in dark places where only His amazing grace can give us the strength to do what He asks us to do.

By the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come from heaven to us to illuminate those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct our feet on the path of peace.

Luke 1:78-79 (NIV)

Jesus came to rescue not only sinners but also the innocent victims of the sins of others, and He wants to use His church to do the same. Sometimes, because we have not seen or experienced the horror others live in daily, it is easier not to think about such suffering, but if we love God, we must love what He loves and suffer with those who suffer.

Of course, not all of us are called to rescue victims of human trafficking, but sadly, the cages or prisons where these victims live are not the only dark places where God's grace can take us. Our dark place can be the homeless area of our city, a jail, or the burn unit of a hospital.

For some, a dark place can be to love a relative who, due to addictions, is no longer part of the family. One of the dark places where God's grace can take us is to forgive and pray for those who made us victims of their sins. That, my friends, is a dark place, but even such places are no match for the grace of God.

My challenge for us this week is twofold. First, let us pray for the victims of human trafficking and for the people who are risking their lives to save them; and second, if the Holy Spirit leads us to places where we experience the dark side of His grace, let us not back down. Let us do our best to rescue every person who lives in darkness, grabbing hold of the grace of God that resides in those dark places.

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