I still want to travel. In late 2016 I began to have thoughts about being a missionary of sorts. After all that I had been through in my struggle with religion, the stress of life, and for finding meaning, I wanted to help others in their own spiritual walks in a way that I could not simply by writing books. I thought that maybe I could meet and help people while out on the road. I had many doubts. After all, I have always had a terrible time initiating contact with strangers. I usually have nothing to say and the very few chance conversations I have remain very shallow. They never lead to friendships. I have always believed that one should not force an issue before it is time or interrupt the flow of the conversation to make an irrelevant point. I would only discuss religion/spirituality with someone who had actually displayed some curiosity first. Otherwise, I might turn people off. In any case, if I’m not excited and comfortable about something, it will be impossible to even explain it well, let alone get others excited. I’m also not likely to meet very many people while roaming around the woods alone. Most of all, I wonder how I will pay for all this.
Of course I know that if God has sent me to talk with someone he will also provide people for me to talk to. I know that if God sends me to travel he will also provide for my basic needs so I can continue travelling. I am reminded of the story of the colt (Matthew 21:1-3) and the story of the disciples carrying nothing (Luke 10:1-11). I also know that the trip might actually be for my benefit instead. Perhaps God is trying to teach me something. The question still remains whether God is sending me at all. How can I tell?
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.” – Hebrews 11:1
“There are many rooms in my father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly.” – John 14:2
Over the years I have heard of many things that people take as confirmation of God’s plans. They speak of coincidences, of confirmations from scripture, of confirmations from other people. I have received none of these. I also know there have been many times I did have these things and was sure I had God’s direction only to have things go horribly awry and I then quickly lost interest afterwards. I even began to get confirmation that God was leading me to give up and move on to something else. I can trust no prophecy ever again.
At the same time, I know that God has already directed us all to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Why must God be more specific? I often worry too much over receiving clear instruction than simply trusting that God’s love will cover me no matter what stupid decision I make. I fret over whether or not to give the homeless money in a particular situation and forget that God has already told us to give to all who ask (Luke 6:30). I fret over whether to ask a particular woman on a date and forget that God has already told us to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:27-29). God has already told me that he will supply all my needs (Philippians 4:19). Can he be trusted?
I have to do something, even if only to break the monotony. I seem to be spinning my wheels going nowhere. What fun is life without risk? I’d like to live in such a way to be an example for others that God can be trusted to care for us, but does that mean I should jump out of an airplane without a parachute just to prove a point? We all know from experience that God does not always supply all our needs. Even the most basic needs for life often go unmet. People die. This is a historical fact. The difference is that I have no strong desire to go skydiving to make it worth the risk. On the other hand, I do have a strong desire to go camping that does.
Ultimately I don’t know God’s will or whether he will provide for me, but at this moment I just don’t care – and this is how I know. That is the paradox of faith.
“How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” – James 4:14
The point has not been lost on me that missionaries are often paid and that if I call myself one, some people may sponsor me. If you feel you want to send me support, you can sign up for a Patreon account and pledge as little as five dollars per month. You can also buy my books. The thing is, I have no idea whether God will provide people to talk with or what I might talk about. This might just become a camping trip. It may end in disaster after only one month. Anything could happen. I am certainly open to spreading the hope of the gospel, but I am open to however God might use me. Should you send money, you will be taking a risk along with me. I make no promises. We’ll see together how God will use the experience.
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.