Why Trade?


I was walking one of my usual walks, across the fields, through the woods, down the paths, and around the lanes. The beauty around never stops amazing me, and as I heard the birds singing in the trees, and watched the sheep munching on the grass I stopped for a moment to look around me. I felt the sunshine, breathed in the clean country air, and took in the rolling hills with their farm animals and wildlife, and the quintessential English buildings on the horizon. As I paused to enjoy this moment a question a friend once asked came back to me:


“Why would you give this up? Why would you trade this for there?”


I shrugged it off at the time,  “I dunno, I guess it’s worth it”, unable to muster the energy needed to think through such a question, unwilling to yield to its demands of thought and emotion.


But as I stood in that moment I found myself surrendering to that unrelenting question. I asked myself those same words:


“Why would you give all this up? Why would you trade this for that? Why would you swap this beauty, this lush green countryside, this freedom to wander, this peace and serenity, for that dry, barren, restricted, oppressive, war-torn land? Why would you ever do that?”


I pondered these questions as I continued walking. I took in the beauty of the countryside and it’s wildlife and wondered why anyone in there right mind would give up having all that on their doorstep. My route took me past middle-class detached English homes with their neatly tended lawns, past the elderly couple on knees weeding greeting with a smile and a “Good afternoon! Lovely day isn’t it?” as it did I wondered, why give up comfortable living, a nice neighborhood, why sacrifice that? I continued walking, down the street past my free-national-health-service doctors surgery, to the small village post-office-come-convenience-store with it’s red post box outside, and the question continued, why give up such privileges, why give up the right to these things?


The question of why?, why trade? Is unrelenting. And I just keep repeating “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!” I try to rationalize it in my mind, I try to tell my soul there is a logical reason, but though I keep searching I can’t find one.



Sure there are reasons, I love those people, their pain breaks me, their potential excites me, their welcome encourages me. But why should I care for a people who live thousands of miles away, who I could quite easily ignore, whose fate has no impact on mine. I love the community of my brothers and sisters, I love their genuine care for one another, I love their selfless compassion, I love their self-sacrifice, I love their humble determination. But community can be created anywhere. Although there are things about there that I love, it doesn’t rationalize my willingness to trade this in. But my mind keeps rolling over that word “Why?” I find myself screaming back at the empty air:


“I don’t know, I just don’t know!… … because I care! I don’t know why I care, but I do, I don’t have a logical reason!”


That’s when I realize it, when I know, when I am sure, that this is God. There is no logic, no rational explanation. Simply God. For He has broken my heart for that land, he has given me His eyes to see those people, and His heart to feel their pain. He has caused me to fall in love with Him and so when He quietly asks me “Will you go? Will you trade all this?” I have no option but to surrender and say willingly “Of course I will”. For one who loves me so dearly, who holds me so tightly, who watches over my every step, the response is easy, “For you, anything”. And with His eyes and His heart, the trade in seems so worth it, so natural.


Yet still logic and reason will never surrender. They will always be at odds, for this Loving Father, this Gracious King, this Faithful Friend, He is so other from my earthly understanding. They will never fully reconcile.


What things have you given up? Why do you find yourself willing to trade things in?


One Comment on “Why Trade?”

  1. […] God really laid Afghanistan on my heart. I wept and prayed over the nation for 9 years before I ever had a chance to visit. Then, when I did, my heart just broke and burnt even more. How do you walk away from something God has written on your heart so strongly? Is it worth it? Totally. Some days I wonder, some days I think not. Those days are Chicken Street days; but if I’m being really honest – then the answer is yes. You can read about it here. […]

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