Have you ever asked yourself why you love someone and then tried to think of the reasons? I think if you really love someone there are no reasons why – you just do. It is inexplicable why you love one particular person and not another; you just know deep in your soul that you do.

I think purpose has similar characteristics to love in this regard. T.D.Jakes writes: “You have to know that the mission you are on is so important that you cannot afford to worry about what people think. You must go anyway.” There is something almost instinctual about purpose; it is definitely something that you know deep in your gut is the thing you must do.

Last year a very dear friend went through some very profound and heart-wrenching struggles with the church she has invested herself in for many many years. It was an extremely painful time. In the midst of this time came a solidly rooted conviction that the area of ministry God had been leading her into for a year or so was definitely the right thing for her to do, despite what was happening around and to her. She knew that God had gifted her in a particular way; there were no logical reasons for this but she knew it, deep within herself.

Just prior to my returning to Nauru last week I had a falling out with another dear friend, over the issue of asylum seekers. It caused us both much distress and left me wondering why on earth I was doing this. Why am I putting myself in such a situation that is politically charged as well as potentially divisive in my personal circle of friends, in the wider church community and within Australia in general?

I could give the “Christian” answer that God has called me to do this and sent me here, and there is truth for my life in that statement. On a personal level though I don’t know why I do this; I only know I must. If I came back to Australia and settled into some other job there would be a niggling undertone to my life that I was not where I was meant to be.

Jesus spoke about the cost of following him. For my friend last year the cost was immense turmoil. For me the cost is the potential harm it does to relationships and this makes me sad (although steps are being taken to repair the breach). But if it costs me this friendship I’ll do it anyway, as sad as that would be, because I can’t do anything else. I just have to do this.

Returning again to what T.D. Jakes wrote: “You have to know that the mission you are on is so important that you cannot afford to worry about what people think. You must go anyway.” I am discovering that it is often in the doing, as painful as that can be at times, that clarity of purpose comes and so the pain, although real, is a cost that is worth bearing for the deep seated joy of just knowing you’re doing what you’re meant to do.