And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
For as long as I can remember, every time I have read or heard this verse, everything in me wells up and wants to shout, “Yes! Send me! I’m right here! I’ll go!” And for as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt like eventually He will take my willing heart and send me. Eventually, I will go. I suppose I have for short periods of time. A couple weeks at a time, and this past Summer for the entire month of July. And I know all these people leaving permanently. Or for months and years. And I’m just here, still in Texas. Only an afternoon’s drive away from where I began life.
I still want to go. The people I have met whose lives seem to exist in another world and the grace that God has shown me when my feet have trodden foreign soil are what I long for in this life. I guess in church-y terms, you would say I’m “called to missions,” and I’ve heard it argued that we should all be called to “missions” even if in our own hometown. Which is true. But doesn’t fix this angst in me to go. To be sent.
One of the major things God has taught me in the past year is that He has specifically and uniquely given me my passions. And those things and people I’m passionate about are all about bringing Him glory. Because for the longest time, I saw them as selfish. As cliche and self-glorifying. And the freedom that has come from seeing those same passions that I once stifled as things that I have been given to use to impact the Kingdom is incomparable. So what did I do with that? I went to Africa, of course. And it changed my life. Not in ways I would have thought though. And not just because Africa in and of itself could change me. The words God had already been whispering to my heart were heard more clearly and the passions I already thought I had were felt more strongly. And my desire to go became almost insurmountable.
Here I’ve been, for the past two years, in a college town. With incredible friends and people I now could not imagine doing life without, expecting to graduate in May. Expecting to be free to go in May. And here I am, in the same town, at a different college, adding another year onto my education. An education that I’m not even too crazy about. Sitting in lecture halls that make me want to dart out the door, head to the airport, and jump on the first plane out of the States. And I just added more school for myself. A common response to my loathing of school has often been inquiries of why I’m still here. Why haven’t I just quit or taken a year off and left? And I have asked myself these questions over and over. And all I can say is, God has said to me, “Stay.” I don’t really know why. And at times, it is the most frustrating thing in the whole world. Because God knows how willingly I would give up everything just to go. He knows that the second I hear Him tell me to go, I’m out of here. So my heart is still heavy with these questions. The amount of questions I have sometimes seems overwhelming compared to the answers. But at the end of the days when I feel the most bored and frustrated with American culture and annoyed that God won’t just tell me to get out of here, I know that I’m here because He has asked me to stay. And I know I am here because there is work to be done for the Kingdom. By no means does God need me here. But for some reason, and probably a portion of that being for my own benefit, He wants me here.
So the cry of my heart is beginning to sound more like, “Here I am, Lord. Send me or make me stay. Take this willing heart and move it when and where You desire.”