Friday, July 18, 2008

Consider Him Faithful Who Has Promised

Now the LORD had said to Abram:

“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.

I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
and you shall be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
-Genesis 12:1-3

We've moved 10 times in the nearly 14 1/2 years that we've been married. Ten times. You would think I'd be a pro at this. Things have not gone well since our move and I have been looking for some clarity from God concerning what I thought would be and what actually is.

Today makes two weeks since we arrived in Mississippi and admittedly, I was not crazy about the move to start with. I was content in Orlando and could have happily stayed there, but God had different plans.

Just to get you up to speed, let me start with the problems. The housing we were counting on fell through, so we're still at my parents' house. Now granted, they've been gracious, but this is not what we anticipated. Because we're still here, Robert is commuting 3 hours round trip each day to get to his job sites. And have you heard about the price of gas??? Tuesday the brakes went out on the front of my Durango and had to be replaced. Wednesday Robert had to have emergency dental work (side note: insurance hasn't kicked in yet). And to top it all off, our sweet Jack cat went missing a week ago. I am longing for my friends, my comfortable little house, and the relative predictability of my life.

So let me tell you how this child of grace reacted to all of this. I second guessed God, my husband, and myself. I cried, I got angry, and I haven't been the most positive person to be around. Surely all of this was coming to pass because we grossly misunderstood His directing. I asked God for some reassurance and was led to start reading in Genesis chapter 12.

Has anyone ever thought about Sarah's perspective of this story? Here Sarah was in her comfortable life in Ur when Abram informed her they were moving to Canaan. "Um, where? Why would we leave all we love? We have family, friends, a life here." But according to the scriptures, Abraham took Sarah and headed into this unknown land on a promise. The scripture goes on to tell us that they found a picturesque setting, built a lovely new house, were surrounded by great neighbors, and made friends quickly . . .


They followed God's promise to go into Canaan where their name would be great, they would be blessed, and they would be protected. When they got there, they found the country that God had promised them, but it was inhabited by a hostile people and there was a FAMINE! Clearly that was not in the travel brochures.

So they went with Plan B: head south to Egypt. Sweet! Egypt! Always wanted to visit there! Of course when they got there, Abraham made a less than favorable impression by lying to the Pharaoh about Sarah. Sarah almost ended up as one of Pharaoh's wives, God sent a plague to remedy the situation, and Pharaoh kicked both of them out of the country.

Can you imagine the conversation that went on behind closed doors??? "Abe, you're still clinging to this promise right? Great name? Blessings? Protection?" Do you think that at any point Sarah said, "Okay! Enough! Things are clearly not working out." How did any of these problems, or the problems to come, impact or alter God's promise for Abraham and Sarah? The truth is, they didn't. God was faithful and saw His plan through in His time.

Sarah and I have a little bit in common here. I am forced to relearn the lesson of being a good steward of circumstances over and over again. I tend to get bogged down in the details and fail to see God working in even the small issues that arise. I consistently fail to understand that the struggles are part of the process. This, friends, is how faith is cultivated.

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;

For he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
-Hebrews 11:8-10

In essence, Abraham died before seeing the promise come to its fruition. His faith is counted great not because he saw and believed, but because he didn't see yet believed. How shallow my faith is when I consider those who suffered genuine tribulation, not the inconveniences I've experienced recently. A work in progress, that's what I am, and so very far from being finished. I have a lot to be be thankful for and I guess things could be worse. After all, Sarah was living in a tent!


Anonymous said...

such an amazing woman :)

Tami said...

God is so good. He keeps bringing this lesson back to me time and time again lately.
We're getting ready to move out-of-state too. When we were still in the deciding stage, the lesson of Sarai came up at Sunday School. I felt like God reached down and smacked me (lovingly) on the back of the head.
He expects me to follow Him whether I'm comfortable or not. Whether it is in MY plans or not. Our job is to go where HE wants us to go. He will provide...and in the meantime He will use our circumstances to 'grow' us.
I thought I learned this lesson three weeks ago when we finally made the decision to move.
I'm relearning the lesson now while we're in the middle of the packing and worrying about where we'll live. (We move in three weeks and still don't have a home to move to! :)
I'm living it with you sista! Hang in there. He's got a plan...and someday He'll let us both in on it. ((hugs)) In the meantime, maybe I should bring you a bucket of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie for us to share- just for old times sake! ;>)

ArtworkByRuth said...

I think I actually said those words (Of Sara's, behind closed doors) to my husband these past couple of months, but then again we usually know we are doing EXACTLY what God wants when we get so many frustrations and nuisances right away. My constant prayer has been "change my heart". If you know that God has chosen this path for you and you are struggling with finding the joy, it's the only prayer left to pray. I haven't lived it faithfully yet, but each day God gives me a little more grace, peace and joy! You are in my thoughts and prayers! God Bless!

rachel said...

what amazing comments the others have written... i loved this blog entry.

hang in there...

warmest regards,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your encouraging remarks on my blog. Melissa just called the INS office again and this time they answered! They said the I-171 is going in the mail today. We are encouraged by your story and hope for a similar outcome for our family! Jim

Kathy and Matt said...

Thanks for sharing your post and to the other readers who have responded with such great comments. I have found myself in a similar mindset, not about our family moving, but about work related challenges my husband and I are dealing with (both being self employed). Your post was such a good reminder for me to offer up my challenges in prayer and trust that God is working on the details.

Praying that things will start getting easier for you.

Debora Hoffmann said...

I am with you! God is teaching me each and every day that this is not my ballgame, but His, that He has put my husband in charge, not me, that He is orchestrating everything though we might feel that all is spinning out of control. Thank you for sharing--you are not alone!

Robert N. Landrum said...

"And he said unto him, Folllow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him" (Lk. 5:10,11;27).

Ashley said...

Oh, Leslie! I know exactly what you are going through! When I moved back home to MS 2 1/2 years ago, it wasn't the same for me. The people I used to know weren't the same. We were just so different now in our lives and it was like I had no friends here anymore. I prayed that God would send me Christian friends and He did! He is still sending them to me and now I love it here so much! My church family has been there for us and I have grown so much more spiritually than I ever have. It is very hard in the beginning and I pray God will give you that peace that only He can give. I see Him already working in you. And you are going to the right place in seeking Him in His word. He will guide your family. I am praying for you.

Ashley said...

I forgot to say that I would love for you to go watch the video I posted on my blog a few days ago. It is called "Break my Plans." Even if you have seen it before, it is always good to listen to the song again. I had to watch it over and over the other day. I have to pray, "break MY plans."