Friday, November 19, 2010

Behold I am doing a new thing!

I've always been fairly independent, and haven't formed strong attachments or friendships over my life. And while some of it was a protection mechanism, so I didn't feel the pain of certain things, I've always felt there was a reason for it - because I did end up moving around and bit, and was able to do that without the pain and trouble it would have been to be leaving people behind every time if I was really attached to a place or to a circumstance.

There is a time for everything. Sometimes we are meant to be settled, sometimes we are meant to be challenged.

I have recently been living in a place in the country that is away from family and friends in the city. For a long time I didn't like it. Because we went back and forth to the city, and I travelled between two towns for work, I felt isolated. I wasn't in the city to be involved with my friends, and I wasn't really a part of either town community since I travelled between them.

I struggled with this isolation, until one day God revealed to me what it was. I was reading about the Israelites in the wilderness - they were in training for what was to come and weren't ready to go into the promised land yet. I always feel the Israelites are an example for us, or a metaphor for us; this time I felt like God was telling me that where I was living and what I was going through was the wilderness and I was in training.

In the wilderness the Israelites had no-one to rely on but God. Just like I had no-one to rely on but God. We weren't going to Church or Small group, we didn't have any Christian friends around us, or family. I couldn't rely on any one else for what I needed spiritually  but God. I wasn't being spoon fed my faith anymore. I needed to flex my own spiritual muscle, so to speak. And for me, for that time, it was an important lesson to learn.

Then we bought some land and started building a house closer to the city again. I went through a period of doubt, thinking if God had just told me that I was out here in the 'wilderness' for a reason, was I really meant to be building a house and settling down somewhere instead of continuing to wander in the desert?

A time for everything, though. God reassured me that this would be a good thing at the right time -
Build houses and settle down; plant gardens, marry and have sons and daughters; seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you.  Jeremiah 29:5-7

But, as usual, things didn't happen the way I expected. We haven't yet moved there, and won't for a little while still. For a while I felt despondent, asking God why he was leaving me out here in the wilderness when all I wanted was for him to use me somewhere .

This time I got a different answer: Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

He was saying, open your eyes. Can you not see what I am doing here?

I'm often pulled up for being impatient and looking further into the future than I need to. (Something I wrote about here.) So things are happening now, but I am still away from family and friends, and may be for a while longer.

But I am also assured that God has a plan. Separation from people is sometimes part of that plan, even when we don't understand it. And when we are separated or isolated, even if it doesn't feel like a good thing, God always provides.

He provided for Israelites in the wilderness  and he didn't leave them out there alone. He provided for all their needs. He will provide for you and lead you where he wants you to go. I will go before you. Isaiah 45:2

What he asks from us is obedience, and to follow him. Don't be like the Israelites who would forget God's many blessings and the things they were learning, and focus only on the hardships. Look forward to what is to come - the promised land. And recognise what God is teaching you now.

It's not easy - the Israelites who had God right there with them as a physical presence even seemed to forget about him....we need to work on our daily relationship with him so that we don't so the same.

1 comment:

  1. I am praying for you that our dear Lord directs you to the place He wants you to be at for this season in your life.