I was singing, as I often do, while coming down the stairs. She looked at me and said, “Oh, Anna, are you happy?”
I answered tentatively, “Yes?” Wondering what prompted that question.
“Is it so easy for you to leave us? Are you happy to leave us?” I was surprised at the seeming hurt in her voice. I was in Kampala, and this was not one of the women I work closely with.
I don’t even remember how I responded. At first, I was simply confused, then I was mortified for my lack of sensitivity. Those words kept ringing in my ears throughout the next couple of days. In my heart was a mixture of hurt, indignation, a desire to defend myself, a desire to prove how much I have given up for the love of God, his people and his work.
In other words, I was struggling with an injured pride.
I didn’t realize it, but I had been carrying this in my heart for some time. Most of the time, when I say goodbye to different people, I am asked the same question, “So, you want to leave us now?” To some who are closer to me, it includes the unspoken words, “Don’t you care anymore?”
I do care. And I do love as Christ has put it in my heart to love. It is tearing my heart apart, but this is not about me. I must go because this is how I understand God is leading me at the moment. No matter how I try to explain it, some will still misunderstand. My pride says I should keep trying.
“O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself,” prayed Saint Augustine.
Whatever happens, I must point people back to Christ, reminding them that He loves them more than I ever could.
I AM happy to leave, but that doesn’t mean I am not also heartbroken in doing it. I AM happy to leave because I know it is God’s will for me. I SHOULD be happy to go because “I delight to do Your will, Oh my God” (Psalm 40:8). I delight BECAUSE it is your will.
In the end, I will have served best when I have served God first. Perhaps, when they come to a point where they have to make the hard decision, they will remember this time, and also choose to follow Christ. With joy. Even when it hurts them, or the ones they love. The hurt will be temporary, but the spiritual growth will be worth it.
For now, we say with Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). As I simply obeyed when I came here, I am simply obeying with joy as I leave. Blessed be the name of the Lord.