The votes were in. I had lost. At stake was which speaker my church group and I would go see. I would have rather seen another presentation but I decided to accompany the others with an open heart. The next day came and the girls and I filed into the large room and claimed the second row of seats to see the agreed upon speaker. The emcee came to center stage and announced a band. All of us looked around at each other with glances screaming, what the heck? In front of the stage, an open section began to fill up so we grabbed at an empty space to check out what was going on.
A picture of an elephant and the word ‘commodity’ slashed out appeared on the screen as a few strings on a guitar rang out. A man stepped on stage and introduced himself as David Zach, the lead singer of Remedy Drive. The rest of the band subsequently joined him on stage for introductions. They explained that they are a Christian rock band that recently released a “freedom” album called Commodity. Their freedom album was dedicated to raising awareness of human trafficking and bringing it to an end. Little did I know, God’s placement of this band in my life would lead to ideologies that would change how I thought about my faith. Their song “Commodity” became crucial to the way I see the world and the song “Under the Starlight” became an essential part of how I view my place in it.
I have always been aware of the painful reality of the world. I knew that sin had its grip and the result was gruesome. Though I had a vague understanding, human trafficking was never a subject I was particularly interested in or passionate about. I thought it was appalling, but it seemed so distant, a problem occurring across the globe from me. Now I realized this way of thinking was very out of touch with the reality.
After hearing the song “Commodity”, a desire to research the horrific details of human trafficking was sparked. It challenged me to step outside of my blessed childhood and see into the disgustingly abhorrent childhood that millions of children face. The bodies of these children have become the hottest commodity around. “I’m a soul inside a body, I’m not a commodity,” is the main part of the chorus. However, this song goes so much deeper than the rhythm. It hits right in the heart. Two of the band members have been on tours in other countries to rescue victims of sex trafficking, and the lyrics came straight from experience. The song goes on to say, “Take my hand lead me out of the night, take my hand lead me into the light.” These lyrics portray what those little girls and boys at the hands of despicable human beings must feel. They want to be rescued and this song points to the true rescue being in Jesus Christ. “Commodity” changed the way I felt about Christianity and challenged my constant complacency on social issues.
Now I could see from the perspective of a helpless child, longing to be loved instead of sold. The painful realization of the overwhelming presence of human trafficking left me wondering what I was supposed to do. It all seemed too big for me, a teenager, to attempt to tackle. Going home, after the concert, left me both inspired and overwhelmed. I set out to try and connect with the band again to see how I could get involved. A perfect opportunity came a few months later when they were scheduled to play at a local church.
Four months later, I attended another Remedy Drive concert, searching for guidance. The lyrics “we'll take back daughters from the heartless, maybe we can tear a little corner off the darkness,” blared from the loudspeakers above my head during the song “Under the Starlight”. I’m sure I heard the song at the previous concert, but God had not yet prepared my heart for the simultaneous lamentation and empowerment the song provided. I suddenly realized I didn’t have to save all the children from the horrible hands of perverted minds, but instead I could work from exactly where I’m at to do what God is calling me to do in this moment. I could shed light on just a tiny corner of the all-consuming darkness of the world. The song goes on to say, “I feel so small, under the starlight. Hear me, I call, under the starlight. Jesus, where are you? They’re far too young. Jesus, how long now? Your Kingdom come.”
Worldly fixes are only temporary, Jesus is the only one who can solve this problem. I can pour my heart and passion into it, but ultimately, I need His help. Instead of feeling hopeless, I could turn and pour my whole heart out to God in a song of lament. Then He responds by placing several questions on my heart, challenging me to answer the following: How can you feel small when you can talk to the Man who created the starlight you’re sitting under? How can you feel anything less than empowered knowing that I am on your side? Why does it matter if you feel small if I, the Creator of the vast and immense universe, is listening intently to your prayers? After giving it wholeheartedly to Jesus, I could begin taking the small actions He was putting on my heart to help. I became a monetary supporter and online abolitionist, committing to posting weekly to raise awareness of the colossal issue of trafficking.
Unconventional passions often root from unexpected places. I never imagined two simple songs could ignite such a fire in my heart. How was I to know that God would choose a band to lead me toward a future of fighting for the voiceless, a future of fighting for victims of human trafficking in the ways I could? These two songs brought me to a new branch of my constantly-evolving call to serve the Lord. Jesus put it on my heart to place human trafficking as a backbone of my future vocation. Through Remedy Drive, Jesus led me to a purpose that would forever change my approach in life and my ideologies behind Christianity. These songs helped strip the comfortability I found in complacency and initiated my overwhelming desire to take Christianity to a place of constant action.