Sunday, December 7, 2014

To the Land I Will Show You

The Lord said to Abram:
Go out from your land,
your relatives,
and your father’s house
to the land that I will show you.
Genesis 12:1

My wife and I are at an interesting crossroads. God has shown us recently that He wants us to move from where we are, as in leave the area. The thing is, He hasn't told us where we are going yet. This is not entirely unfamiliar territory. Six years ago, right around this time of year, God made it abundantly clear that I was to leave a job I had been at for less than a year. After applying to 80 different positions, a recruiter contacted me for a job I wasn't even looking for. We ended up moving 500 miles from "home", away from all that had been familiar for nearly 14 years.

This time is a little different. The skills I have in the field I want to work are in high demand right now. I literally could have my pick of any job I could want right now, so long as I am willing to go where the job is. Knowing that, my wife and I had decided on a few key areas that we wanted to look in, and I was turning down many requests from recruiters to consider positions outside of our ideal locations. That all changed for me this morning.

As I described my situation to a friend of mine at church, he likened my story to that of Abram as God called him out of his homeland to go where He would lead him. And like me, Abram didn't know where he was going either. But unlike my situation, God told Abram to move, and he got up and went. His every step was literally directed by God until he settled in the place God had for him. There was no bargaining with God, no "I will go but not there" kinds of conversations. Verses 1-3 of Genesis 12 has the command from God to go, and verse 4 says "So Abram went, as the Lord had told him." 

The weight of this was tremendous as I read these words this morning. In an attitude so subtle that I just simply did not see it, I had told God, "I will go as you lead, just so long as it is to a place that will be in my comfort zone." But over and over again He kept repeating His words to Abram in my mind: "Go out from your land ... the the land that *I* will show you."

I was convicted to the point of tears, and I asked God for forgiveness for my unwillingness to completely surrender to His leading. And as God often does to drive a point home, the last song in the church service today, which I heard after this revelation from Him, was "I Will Follow" by Chris Tomlin:

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you

Whom you love, I'll love
How you serve, I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

As Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, "If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me." As followers of Jesus Christ, we don't have the luxury nor the right to say to Him, "I will go where You lead me, so long as it is not there." Rather, we must have the attitude that whatever we want for ourselves is completely secondary and subservient to the will of our Father in heaven. Being right in the middle of where God wants you is always the best place to be, even if you can't see that from where you are right now.

What that means for me and my job situation is two fold: One, I don't intend to apply for any other jobs from here on out unless they first invite me to apply. Two, I won't discount any invitation to consider a job simply because of where it is located. God led me and my family to where I am now through a recruiter that invited me to apply for a job I didn't know was there. I expect that He will make our path clear this time around through similar means. 

In the meantime, we are preparing to leave. We don't know when, and we don't know where, but when He says, "Go there", I want to be ready to say, "Yes, Lord." As my friend from church reminded me this morning, it's not about the job; it's about what God intends to do in me and through me where He leads me.

But I count my life of no value to myself,
so that I may finish my course and the ministry
I received from the Lord Jesus,
to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.
Acts 20:24