Nancy Ruth, 2013The past few months I've heard of several people moving. A few of the churches near and dear to my heart are now looking for new pastors since their pastor and family has moved or is moving soon. Moving can be a scary thing. So many things change when you move, especially if you leave town or the state. One friend recently confessed he is "very nervous" about his family's upcoming move. Is there anything we can do to make the change easier?
Feeling RootlessI think I have moved more than should be allowed. In the past thirteen years, I think I have moved twelve times. (And that doesn't count college before that when we had to move out every summer, even if we planned to stay in the same place the following fall.) Now, I've only lived in five cities over that time, but it still seemed like my life was upended each time I had to pack up everything and move. (Is it any wonder I am asking God, if it is His will, to let me stay and plant my life here?) Believe it or not, I don't like moving one bit. My dad once observed that I am much like my mother. As long as I have a place to call home, I am ok and can weather the storms of life. But, put all my stuff in boxes on a moving van, leaving me feeling rootless, and I'm a mess.
What Helps?One thing that has helped me in my many moves is to ask God to show me what things have NOT changed in my new place.
- Some regular routine? (Like spending time in God's Word in a place where I can see a bit of nature.)
- The way a room is decorated? (Like the pictures of my family I always keep with me.)
- People around you? (Like family or pets.)
"But God never changes, and who can stand against him? He does anything he wants." Job 23:13 (ERV, emphasis added) "Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same." James 1:17 (ERV, emphasis added)God loves us and is with us everywhere we go. There is nowhere we can go in this life where God is not with us.
"You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts from far away. You know where I go and where I lie down. You know everything I do. Lord, you know what I want to say, even before the words leave my mouth. You are all around me—in front of me and behind me. I feel your hand on my shoulder. I am amazed at what you know; it is too much for me to understand. Your Spirit is everywhere I go. I cannot escape your presence. If I go up to heaven, you will be there. If I go down to the place of death, you will be there. If I go east where the sun rises or go to live in the west beyond the sea, even there you will take my hand and lead me. Your strong right hand will protect me. Psalm 139:2-20 (ERV)We don't have to be afraid, because God is with us.
"Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (ERV)
Moving PrayerAsk God to be with you and your family. Ask Him to protect you and to guide you. Ask Him to help you make friends and learn to fit in where you will live. Most of all, thank God for having a special plan for your life. Ask Him to show you how to best live for Him where He has put you.
In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don’t know what we should pray for. But the Spirit himself prays for us. He prays through groans too deep for words. God, who looks into our hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit. And the Spirit prays for God’s people just as God wants him to pray. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. He appointed them to be saved in keeping with his purpose. Romans 8:26-28 (NIRV)