“No. But It Doesn’t Matter.”

“Do you have the courage to go alone” Mrs. Whatsit asked her.

Meg’s voice was flat. “No. But it doesn’t matter.”

A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle

This is the post where I tell you that I’m kind of a terrible missionary, because recently I haven’t really been concerned about God’s plan, but, rather, His lack of following mine.

God and I have been having a lot of conversations recently about courage and about being alone.

It will seem ironic to some, but, despite my introversion, I hate to be alone. This was well solidified recently when the family I live with all went on vacation for a week. It was great for a few hours and then I was 110% over it.

When I left Ukraine two years ago, I knew I wanted to return. I also stated, “Next time I don’t care to do it alone, thank you very much.”

About a year ago I  was asked, “But if you knew God made it clear it was time to return and you still weren’t in a significant relationship, that wouldn’t stop you from returning would it?” To which I easily replied, “Of course not,” because at the time God hadn’t said, “Hey, let’s start thinking about that return.”

But then He did and I visited in the spring for a short trip. It was like going home and plans were set in motion to make moving back a reality.

Then I came back to the US and, frankly, the last couple of months I’ve sat down on the floor and kicked and screamed and thrown my temper tantrum because there’s still no answer to that other small issue of “Please don’t make me do this alone!” I’ve selfishly pushed aside planning, budgeting, support raising because I just haven’t wanted to face this part of it.

So when I read the above words in A Wrinkle in Time last night, I cried because I could see myself so clearly in Meg’s reluctant acceptance of needing to go alone. The answer didn’t come in the way she expected. The solution wasn’t one she would prefer.

She had people that loved and supported her, but the thing that had to be done in that moment meant going alone. When questioned if she had the courage, Meg responded, “No. But it doesn’t matter.” She already knew she would do it.

There are many things that haven’t worked out the way I placed them on the imaginary map drawn out in my head. God hasn’t seemed too concerned about my timeline and plan. I guess He’s got a better one.

For now, if you ask me if I have the courage to live alone overseas again, my response is, “No. But it doesn’t matter.”

So for those who’ve asked or just been wondering about my silence on the subject:

  • Yes, I’m moving back to Ukraine to help with young adult discipleship at Living Word Church in L’viv
  • Yes, that means I could use a lot of prayer and financial support, which means I’ll be updating my contact list if you’re interested.
  • And if you know any eligible bachelors with a heart for God and Eastern Europe… I’m just saying…

 

Courage, Dear Heart

“But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, "Courage, dear heart," and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan's, and with the voice a delicious  smell breathed in her face.

In a few moments the darkness turned into a grayness ahead, and then, almost before they dared to begin hoping, they had shot out into the sunlight and were in the warm, blue world again. And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

When the possibility of terror threatens and looms large at every turn, we long for Hope’s whispering that drives the darkness into oblivion.

Whether we find ourselves stumbling into darkness from foolishness or rushing in on mission to find another soul in need of rescue, the inky tendrils pull and grab attempting to capture and enslave, but Love hastens to reveal Himself and deliver us to safety if only we will call out.

Then, the night may not fade all at once, but that sweet voice that speaks gently, calling us to the light and warmth of love whispers, “Courage, dear heart.”

And how often it seems that once the moment has passed we realize that while beads of nervous sweat were gathering on our brow, in reality, there was never anything to fear because He was always near, always in control, always good and trustworthy.

Therein seems to lie my struggle, to remember He is good. Love may be in no way safe, but He is always good, even when the path seems unclear, shadowed and not the one I think I want.

These two, good and safe, should not be confused. Good does not guarantee safe, at least not in the way we may first consider. Many have given their lives in the service of Love, sacrificing all for others to know Hope and Life. I dare say we would deem that good, but not safe.

Likewise, safe does not always mean good. It’s been said before, but the ship that never leaves the shore may be free from danger and risk, but it isn’t doing what it was created for. If a child were always carried, he may never fall and get hurt, but he would also never know the joy of walking, running and climbing.

“Courage, dear heart” thunderously resonates within me, simply because I’m not a naturally courageous one, but I know that sometimes you have to walk into the darkness and be the one that brings the Light, and sometimes the sacrifice is great. I do not want to miss out on what I was created for because I gave into fear instead of calling on and heeding the voice of Love.

Often the voyage on this great adventure of life seems to travel through dark places and rough seas, but why should we fear when we are assured of His guidance and presence?

He is good. He is really, really good. And we are his sons and daughters. I have a suspicion that if we really understand and walk in that we will quickly realize that “there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been.”

“Courage, dear heart.”