by Rita Johnson, Frontier Fellowship Associate Director
Isaiah 42 is the first of Isaiah’s four “servant songs.” These poems describe the servant of the Lord who suffered both pain and humiliation in his ministry of serving God and bringing about justice. The Church has long associated this servant with Jesus. Jesus’ compassion and humility mark His embrace of the lowly and signal that His ultimate mission is to save others through His atoning death. The Servant absorbs pain and evil to redeem both the abuser and the abused. His gentleness welcomes those who need kindness and care.
A few brave and dedicated Central Asian women are following in Jesus’ footsteps by facilitating ministries that provide shelter, prayer, vocational training and other services for those who’ve been sexually exploited or abused—women who suffer shame and rejection from their families and society and often have nowhere else to turn. With a gentle, gracious welcome to a place of safety, women are treated with kindness and patience as they journey toward healing and restoration. The sisters in Christ who operate these shelters share the honor that comes from being a beloved daughter of God, echoing His promise: “I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth” (Zephaniah 3:19b ESV).
This ministry of rehabilitation is challenging, yet the women who serve are faithful day after day and month after month. Looking to God as a loving Father, they receive encouragement to carry on, living—as Jesus did—in reliance on Him for strength and renewal.
How can we rely more on the Holy Spirit as we accompany others on the path from shame and suffering to honor and restoration? Jesus’ “justice traits” show us the way. Treat “bruised reeds” with gentleness, encourage the “faintly burning wicks” to not give up, don’t yield to discouragement in advocacy or service.
Take some time today to consider people in your community or around the world who are suffering at the hands of oppressive people or systems. How might God call you to be an agent of justice on behalf of those waiting for restoration?
Read more from our Advent devotional series.