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God of This City

There's a song by Chris Tomlin called "God of This City". Maybe you've heard it. Well It was originally "written" by an Irish band called Bluetree. I put "written" in quotation marks because they never technically wrote it. But I'll get to that later. 

Since I've been here in Thailand we have gotten the chance to go into bars in the red light district to reach out to the girls that work there. These girls are often prostitutes and are being trafficked or at risk of being trafficked. We have mostly gotten to go during the day, which is a great time to make friends with them as they are not yet distracted by the men who come in later. We've also gone out at night. The street looks totally different at night and it's really heartbreaking to see our sweet friends talking to some old man and wondering if she will be going home with him. 

The street is a dark place but the place that has broken my heart more than any of the bars on the bar street is a  little karaoke bar that is right next to the cafe where our ministry is based. The windows and door are completely tinted where you can't even see inside, where as the other bars are open and welcoming. They make the women sit outside the bar in a row so that everyone can see their options. They make it clear what they are about. I walk past it every night and I often see a car pulled up by the curb talking to them. Sometimes a few of the chairs are empty and I don't even want to think about where those girls might be. I always make it a point to try and talk to them but unlike the girls on the bar street who are generally very friendly, these girls just stare at me, like I'm not speaking to them at all. How sad is it to be so hurt by other people that you mistrust the friendliest of "hello"s from strangers. That you cannot even muster up the energy to smile back in return. 

It's really easy to become discouraged in a place like this. It almost seems like the enemy is winning, that he has  Thailand in his pocket. You feel like you are powerless against it, and there's nothing you can do about this injustice. 

Remember that song I was talking about? Well, this band, Bluetree, got invited to Pattaya, Thailand by some friends to join in ministry with them. Pattaya is one of the darkest cities in the world where human trafficking runs rampant and there are hundreds of bars that are involved in this. And it was the owner of one of these bars that invited Bluetree to play one night, thinking a live band would draw in a crowd. Little did he know that they were singing worship songs and praying over the place the whole time. While they were playing, in the middle of this bar surrounded by so much brokenness, these lyrics came to the singer:

 

You are the God of this city

You are the king of these people

You are The Lord of this nation

You are the light in this darkness

You are the hope to the hopeless

There is no one like our God. 

 

He had never written or rehearsed this song, it just came from God. In one of the darkest places in the world he could still say that God was working there. And that is true for Chiang Mai as well. 

We are leaving in a couple of days and it's hard to leave not knowing if we even really did anything. But I know my God is so good. And He is sovereign. He is sovereign in the darkness and brokenness and though it sometimes looks hopeless, He is working. He is saving women from this trap everyday. He is setting men free from the lust they are in bondage to everyday. He loves the people of Thailand. He is Lord and one day He will make all things new, and set everything right. 

God was working in Thailand before we ever showed up and He will continue to do so after we leave. And even though it's hard to leave it all behind, I know He's in control.

Greater things are still to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city