As a child, I was raised by deeply faithful parents and was exposed to the gospel in many different ways. But I vividly remember asking myself when I was in high school, What really is the point of Jesus? That question came from a place of deep pain and disillusionment after a close family friend was killed by a drunk driver. I began to understand that Jesus is the one who enabled me to be reconciled to God, but also the one who heals, the one who redeems all the places that are hurt and broken.
God continued to draw me closer as a college student. Being involved in Campus Crusade (now called Cru), I was surrounded by people who couldn’t get enough of studying the Bible. We’d discuss it literally every day, always encouraging one another to go even deeper.
One of the Scripture passages that became really important to me at that time was Isaiah 58. I was blown away by how it spoke of what I had personally experienced with God. I had experienced God as the one who breaks chains and loosens the ties of the yoke and sets the oppressed and the prisoner free! I understood this passage primarily in light of my own spiritual experience of being enslaved to sin and death, to pain and brokenness, and my need to be freed from that and taken out of darkness into light. But years later, God would help me see that Scripture from a whole new perspective.
Slavery Is Still Alive?
I’d gone to seminary for my master of divinity degree and one day, as I came out of the cafeteria, there was a table set up in the hallway with a sign that grabbed my attention. It read, “Slavery is alive” and underneath it said, “Rape for profit must be stopped.”1