On Monday, Dina took us to a different side of the Red Light District than where we’ve previously visited. Most of the Madame’s on this street have never let Dina enter. And as many times as Dina told herself that she was never going back there, she continues to find herself on that street in hopes that God will somehow open doors here. We went with the hopes of softened hearts, for the Madame’s to not see us as a threat, but we saw Satan’s attempts to prevent the Gospel from being spread right before our eyes.
As soon as we entered the district, every single one of us felt the instant heaviness and presence of spiritual warfare. We prayed as a group as we usually did before entering the brothels but during our prayer we all saw a few Madame's step out the door, throw salt on their steps and walk back inside. Dina said that is a superstition in Greece to keep bad spirits away. How ironic. Then a man came up to us and told us that we needed to leave or else it would upset the women and their clients. When we didn't leave he came back to tell us he would call the cops to arrest us for evangelizing. We chose to stay. Each brothel we tried to enter turned us down. The last one we went to ended with the wife of the Pimp who runs that street screaming at Dina for us to leave. The lady was harsh, but Dina remained calm and extremely composed with love and grace. So we left. We tried not to feel let down or upset about the lack of success (in our eyes), but discouragement was there, nonetheless. And I can understand why Dina wouldn’t want to go back to that street after all that happened…but she finds herself going anyway. This reminds me of how God continues to pursue us, even when we yell at Him to go away, when we are too stubborn to listen and obey Him, when we slap Him in the face with our sins, when we completely break His heart…He still returns to us with open arms, ready to bring us back to Him… back on the path towards Home.
God explains in His love letter to us why He keeps pursuing us. In Hosea chapter 11, we are shown a beautiful glimpse of this love:
“(2)The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols."
“(8) How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. (9) I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.”
He continues in Chapter 14:4…
“I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.”
It’s hard when I want to see fruits… to see people change… to see quick results in God’s work. But though it’s not always the results I want, or my kind of success, God is succeeding and He is working in His good and perfect pace. So we will praise Him under all circumstances and continue praying for softened and open hearts, that one day they would allow God in.