Have you ever wondered why God called you to do something? What would your usual response be? Would you be excited or scared? Our friend, Sally shares about the journey God took her on after she graduated. A journey that was ten years in the making, bringing her to the Philippines and back again; a journey not for herself but for her community.
Me: Why me? Why now?
God: I’ll tell you later.
This was a conversation I had with God before I left as a volunteer lawyer to work with a human rights NGO fighting sex trafficking in the Philippines. I did receive the answer, but it was not until I returned home to Toronto.
Since graduating from undergrad in 2002, I always wanted to go abroad to do my part in “helping” the world become a better place. To me, it came in the appearance of working for a multilateral organization. My dream has been, and still is, to work for the United Nations headquarters in New York. In my final year of undergrad, I recall being prayed for by my discipleship leader, who had the gift of prophecy, telling me that he saw me with the ‘flags of the world’. My immediate thought was that the Lord would take me abroad on an international adventure fighting human rights violations and then I would work for the United Nations. But my life looked nothing like that after graduation despite my resilience in applying for every single internship opportunities abroad. Shortly, I received rejection letter after rejection letter from NGOs, government and quasi-government jobs that had a human rights/international component. And instead, I worked at a call center for a bank, trying to collect delinquent student loan payments from people who were having difficulties making ends meet. I also worked from 4pm to 11pm, Tuesday to Fridays and the full day on Saturdays. I did this for about a year and a half, moved to another department at the bank until my acceptance into law school. And after another gradation, life happened and as part of life, jobs followed suit (in more ways than one).
I suppose the idea of going abroad was still in the back of my mind, dormant nonetheless, but still there. And so when I finally received the calling to go, to quit my job, leave my family, friends and church for 10 months, it just did not make any sense whatsoever. Exactly ten year after receiving my initial conviction, now as a single 32 year old woman, God wanted me to uproot my life and move to a country I never heard about, to a jurisdiction I never practiced in – for free. Crazy would be a huge understatement, I think.
When I entered the legal profession, the verse I adopted as my own was Micah 6:8. I promised the Lord I would act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with Him. This was the very verse that led me to the Philippines. And this is the very verse that keeps me going today.
In the Philippines, God showed me the flags I mentioned at the beginning of the post. It was at a church, my first Sunday worshipping Jesus in Manila. When I think about this moment, my eyes well up with tears as I reflect on His faithfulness 10 years later. I probably cannot explain here how professionally rewarding and spiritually enriching experience I had in the Philippines, but what I do know is that Jesus knows me better than I can ever know myself. And to that end, I realized the question I initially posed to the Lord was completely irrelevant and self-absorbed. This 10 month journey, as much as I experienced the richness of God’s love and justice, was always about the community. Yes, without a doubt, I benefited personally, but God was brewing something much bigger than what I initially thought. What I learned in the Philippines did not end there – it was just the beginning.
Micah 6:8 is a call to the community. In this passage, the Lord presents His case to the community of Israel of His faithfulness of leading them out of slavery and His abundant grace bestowed upon people unfaithful. His charge to the people of Judah is not for burnt offerings or sacrifices as required by the law, but that the community act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him. In many respects, the church, like the Judah and Israel, has failed to answer to the call of justice. I realized my call is the church’s call and it was never about me – it was about us. So in this regard, my church will be launching its justice ministry in the coming month to partner and align ourselves with local ministries in the fight against human trafficking, mental health and urban poverty and it will be aptly called, Micah 6:8.
God: It’s about me. It’s about us.
Where is God calling you to go? Where is God already taking you?
Image: Irargerich / Flickr