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No Turning Back

Our family recently returned to Papua after a four month furlough in the States. Many transitions during our overseas term had left us tired. We relished furlough. We enjoyed travelling around the States and visiting friends and family. The roads seemed so wide, and the traffic so orderly (even in Southern California)! People followed rules, and we could find about anything we wanted at Costco. The ease and convenience of grocery shopping and making meals was enjoyable! And, for the first time ever, during a walk through a local neighborhood, I found myself longing to live in a house like I saw there. I felt ready to just settle down somewhere comfortable and convenient. The presence and depth of this longing caught me by surprise.


An outdoor market in Papua. Photo by Rich Olenik.
An outdoor market in Papua. Photo by Rich Olenik.


Back home in Papua.
Back home in Papua.

So, instead of chiding myself for being unspiritual, I turned to God and acknowledged to Him that my heart was longing for ease and convenience, and if I was honest, I really wasn’t looking forward to going back to Papua. The next Sunday at church, the worship touched my heart deeply. I cried, recognizing that I was struggling with going back. The words to the next song penetrated my soul: “…Through every trial, my soul will sing. No turning back, I’ve been set free. Christ is enough for me.” And then the bridge rang out: “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back”… and, “The cross before me, the world behind me, no turning back…”

I realized God was challenging me to continue following Him, no matter what the cost. To choose Him over convenience, over comfort, even over loved ones. Was I willing to keep following Him, even when it was hard?

Being back in Papua, I still miss convenience at times, but I do not regret deciding not to turn back. It will be worth it.


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