The Joy of a Nomad

by Christina Roberts

In Paul’s letters, he wrote that his heart’s desire was to visit those to whom he was writing. However it seems that he was somehow hindered and God did not open doors for this to happen. In fact, Paul was a nomad; he was never at any one place for more than a few years.

So far in my experience overseas, it seems as though this nomadic pattern of Paul’s missionary life has been true for my life as well. I have been in Africa for a year and a few months, yet in such a small time I have lived in three different countries and four different towns.

In each place, I have been able to connect with believers, I have experienced the hospitality of many different cultures, and I have made lifelong friends. I completely understand Paul’s longing to physically be where he was not; to be with friends and loved ones, those to whom he had invested time and emotion, which were far away. However, no matter what his longings were, he was always obedient to the leading of the Lord.  

Since my move to Africa, there have been many occasions when a door opens in a specific location for a period of time. God has specific reasons for me to be there, then he closes the door and it’s time to move on.

It’s hard. It’s sorrowful. It’s painful. It’s tiring. It’s frustrating. I don’t understand why, and each time it doesn't get any easier.

But in it all, after every gain or loss, He is there. He isn't asking for me to absolutely love what He’s asking me to do or for me to understand why He is leading me somewhere. He’s only asking for a willing heart to be obedient to what He is calling me to and for me to trust in His promises; He’ll do the rest. In that obedience, He has always provided comfort, peace, joy and an overflow of His steadfast love.

Sometimes He has caused me to walk through situations where I am desperately weak so that He can be unshakably strong. In the heartache and the pain I can rejoice in the hope of salvation of the nations through Jesus, and trust that wherever the Father leads this nomad, He is completely faithful.