The Story of Justin Shrum written by Mary Alysse Dodds
“You can have unbroken access to the presence of God.”
His body reacted. He growled, emphasizing physical manifestation.
I squirmed. God, if this is what unbroken access is about, I want nothing to do with it.
But part of me knew he spoke truth, knew his experience was legitimate. God, I believe you dwell inside of me. I believe I have access to you that I should experience daily. I want that.
God’s presence surged. Like New Testament writers, I couldn’t describe my soul’s experience with the Holy Spirit. Rivers of living water overflowed from my innermost being, spilling onto those around me.
God is dwelling inside my body. Unfathomable by my mind, but overwhelming my heart. God brought himself to the nearest place of my human existence.
Joy replaced weariness. I had been a zealous Bible school student. I begged God to come meet with me. I prayed harder with my buddies to break the veil.
God was a distant dad who wanted to visit but somehow couldn’t. Only moments of mercy in the right corporate worship broke the separation. Only the right atmosphere.
Now we’ve had Bible studies in brothels. Darkness and demons cannot touch the atmosphere that lives inside us–the Holy Spirit.
God’s spirit inside us is the source of change. He splashes over, quenching the thirst of broken women. A prostitute prayed for a client.
“You need Jesus,” she said and gave our business card.
I see people overcome cycles of addiction and abuse not by trying harder, but by experiencing the life of the Spirit.
By simply knowing, “I believe, and now I’m filled with the Holy Spirit.” Their inner man becomes bigger, and their outer man, drawn to addiction, breaks away. Souls at ease, delivered from fear, established in intense confidence as children of God.
“Joel was killed.” Loud silence. The sound of grief, heartbreak. What a waste. No respect for the brother, husband, father he was.
“Justin,” a rush to my chest where I know to fellowship with God, “the loss of Joel is a reminder of how much I care about those people.”
Without any details of lives changed, the Spirit assured me he was involved. My brother’s murder was not in vain. If death can’t stop us, nothing can.
It’ll take a long time, but we’re gonna win because we’re on God’s team. We’re constantly disappointed. We want to see girls freed from a system of prostitution that destroys self-worth. We want to see complete restoration. That is crazy.
But if God set himself inside of us, what can stop us? We rejoice in our trials. That’s ridiculous, except God constantly shows us the best is yet to come. We experience joy simultaneously.
We’re on track to impact lives because God’s train is unstoppable.
Justin Shrum is the founder and president of The Justice Project International, a nonprofit combatting human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in Germany’s legalized sex industry. A husband, father, and tabletop gamer, Justin’s passion is teaching, seeing people worship a God they know a little bit better now. Connect at TheJusticeProject.net.