On November 20, 2016, I wrote a post on this blog about being solivagant:
So here I am, solivagant, walking on, hoping that at some point, He will open the doors of heaven for me, and I will hear a trumpet-voice say, “Ascend and enter. I’ll show you what happens next.” (Rev. 4:1)
It was a time when I felt like everything was falling apart. I felt rejected and abandoned. I felt… deeply alone. I share this now, because this is a constant struggle when on the mission field. That aching loneliness. I sometimes wonder if He made me to be alone.
I’ve had people keep telling me that I wasn’t made for loneliness. I even wrote an article about 4 truths to overcome loneliness on the mission field. In truth, I wondered if loneliness was my cross. I wondered if I was created to be solivagant.
Was I an Elijah? Depressed and crying out to God if He was the only one left believing in Yahweh after Mt. Carmel? Was I a John the Baptist? Walking around the wilderness with his honey and his locusts, strange and misunderstood by the world? Was I a Joseph? A dreamer betrayed and imprisoned, away from family, away from everything familiar, enslaved in a land not his own?
Was I made to be alone?
Always that person on the outside, looking in?
Because if I was, I figured that loneliness wasn’t too bad a cross to bear. Could be worse, right?
I’m back home in the Philippines, and I met a friend of mine this morning.
“You’re walking in your calling, Joanna,” she said in reference to my plans to go to Egypt in the near future.
I smiled. My spirit’s song for the past two years has been a song entitled Can’t Go Back Now by The Weepies.
Walk on, walk on, walk on…
Coz you can’t go back now.
It seemed to me like all I had to do was to keep on walking, because that’s what our senior pastor told me when he prayed for me last Sunday. “I see a thick curtain and you’re about to walk through it. It’s dark and unclear what you’re walking into. All you have to do is walk on, because on the other side, it’s like in Narnia when they walked through the closet… On the other side, there’s a whole new world.”
Dear Lord, a whole new world… Here goes my continuous dance with the unknown.
Launching into the unknown… Yet again, alone?
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken
This was the word God gave me when I first started praying about missions and going to Egypt/Africa almost a decade ago. I look at my future, and it looks so unclear. But maybe I need to be solivagant. To be this solitary wanderer, rambling alone, walking on… following He holds my hand through it all. And maybe… just maybe… if I reach the point where I realize that He’s always been there, and I was never solivagant, maybe then, I can “ascend and enter”. Maybe then, He will show me what happens next. Maybe then, I won’t be so alone.
I’m not sharing this for you to pity me or even to understand me. I’m sharing this because this is my reality. As a Christian. As a missionary. As a woman.
I’m sharing this to ask for prayer. I’m sharing this for transparency. I know a lot of people like me struggle with this on the mission field. I only wish to articulate what it can be like to go… to follow wherever He leads. A lot of us are “all in” when it comes to following Jesus, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have our moments of despair. It doesn’t mean we have it all together. It doesn’t mean we won’t struggle.
So as you read this, I hope you remember that I need you. Even as He leads me past the dark curtain and to a whole new world, please remember that I need you.
I have a friend who I met in the first company I worked for almost ten years ago. Earlier tonight, we met up for dinner. What I love about the thread of our conversation is how we both kind of just agreed that God was in control no matter what. We settled in our hearts that who we were, what we were going through was tailored by God for us to be more like Him, for us to walk in the calling God gave us.
I love that. Even now, as I lie in bed writing this, I look back at my day – my week even – and I find a common thread in all the interactions I’ve had: God is with me.
I may be solivagant, and I may always be, but He has ordained that for a reason. All I have to do is walk on, because a whole new world awaits and no matter how unknown it is, of this I am sure: God is there and He has prepared wondrous things ahead.
Thus, hand in hand with the Almighty…
Walk on, walk on, walk on…
Coz you can’t go back now