“It really is one of the most critical tools that we could have, one of the most important gifts that God gives us, that we could carry with us into our daily life.”

Bethany Hoang is passionate about working to free those in captivity. She works with International Justice Mission, a ministry that works to end human trafficking and free those in the sex trade in twelve different countries. While it’s a cause with gravity and sobriety, there is a reason to celebrate – we serve a God who is the Great Rescuer.

“It seems really counter-intuitive, because when we’re hearing about how much devastating need there is in the world, the last thing we feel even legitimized to feel is joy. We feel like there is a guilt on us if we experience joy or appreciate what we have in our own lives.”

That said, if we try to carry the work of justice without a sense of joy, it will quickly wear us down. Bethany compares joy to oxygen – much like we need oxygen to work out and care for our bodies, we need joy in order to step into the fight for justice in our own community.

“It enables you to breathe in the midst of things that are really crippling.”

Bethany urges us to take the time to remember God’s character and rejoice in His Name. Our work for justice is partnering with the same God who called His people to cross a raging sea, numbered the stars, and raised a man who had been dead for four days. He will set everything right – and He invites us to join Him. When we pause and remember who God is first, we remember that He is the all-powerful One.

We don’t need to convince others to join the cause of justice, because when we pursue the heart of God, justice is naturally what we’ll find. God’s love for freedom will flow into us as we walk more intimately with Him. Then, the joy He gives us will sustain us through each trial when we’re working to bring freedom to others.

“When we join Him, we’ll go to places that are really hard, and it will be dark. But there’s joy in the midst of it because we’re with Him, and because it’s His vision for the world that He is bringing to bear and it’s a vision of beauty.”

Key Scriptures: Romans 12:1-2; Psalm 10; Proverbs 21:15; Galatians 5:1

Featured Songs: When the Saints by Sara Groves; The Lion & the Lamb by Leeland with Bethel Music; Deeper by Meredith Andrews

Highlight : The weapon of joy in the fight for justice

The justice calling