At the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast, Gary Haugen, CEO and founder of International Justice Mission, urged the nation’s political leaders to unite in fighting modern slavery, emphasizing that “even in this divided era, there is good that we all agree should be done.”
Delivering the keynote address at the annual event held at the Washington Hilton on Thursday, Haugen, who formerly served as a human rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, said that while the “holy faithfulness of God” should keep people from “growing weary of doing good,” it’s easy to become tired and discouraged — particularly amid what he called the “fracturing of the American family.”
“I do sense that we are in a national moment of perilously mounting discouragement,” he said. “Our tribal divisions, our institutional dysfunctions, our desperate winner-take-all contests of cultural resistance or survival, they seem to be pressing in our chests with a swelling anxiety of national disintegration.”
While there are fights worth fighting, Haugen said, many people are discouraged “that all this fighting won’t ultimately end well” and even unifying events like the prayer breakfast can feel “increasingly thin or unreal.”
“We can be so discouraged by all that is going wrong, we can be tempted to give up on seeking what is right,” he lamented, citing C.S. Lewis, who in his book “The Screwtape Letters” wrote, “Our spiritual adversary knows that despair is a greater sin than any of the sins which provoke it.”
“In this moment, I’m praying for a word of encouragement that might help us take one big step away from that abyss of despair,” he declared. “In order to pursue the good, we have to actually believe that the good will ultimately prevail.”
While the negativity spread across the news cycle can be discouraging, Haugen reminded attendees that “it’s not the ruling arch of time.”
“The great canopy of history is firmly held in the scarred hands of a God who speaks galaxies into being,” he stated. “We know the One who is seated upon the throne will one day wipe away every tear, and death and pain and mourning will be no more.”
“The tricky part is this: While I’m eager to leverage this holy God for my consuming crusade of the day, I may not be listening as carefully to His voice about the good I am rushing past or the good I am trampling upon in my dash to the barricades,” he continued.
Haugen charged that the admonition of Scripture is not only to “not give up in doing right,” but also to not give up “in humbly seeking what is right.”
“Because I can miss it,” he said. “This is the great tragic and gracious story of our nation. God worked through great heroes to bring waves of freedom, prosperity, and justice like the world had ever known.”
But at the same time, he said, those same heroes didn’t have the moral vision to share those blessings with the rest of the world. Still, God uses “messy men and woman” to advance His Kingdom, and bring righteousness and justice to the world.
“We are, in alternating moments, allowed to be His heroes and His heartache,” he explained.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett