The follow post first appeared in the spring issue of Girlz 4 Christ magazine. I felt burdened to write it after moving at the end of last year and hope it will be a blessing to you, in whatever stage or place you find yourself. For more encouragement and inspiration on godly topics for teen girls, visit Girlz 4 Christ online.
Moving. I can’t decide what I like least about it: getting the boxes, packing, or unpacking.
Getting the boxes (if you’re thrifty like me) can involve borderline dumpster diving or soliciting the local grocery store. I felt like a puppy begging for food when I asked the clerk if she had any empty boxes. She threw me a bone and said I could check the empty pallet out back.
Since I’m a recovering perfectionist, packing boxes also poses a problem and takes forever. When I reach the unpacking stage, I empty the brown cartons with much less tenderness. They litter the hallway like landmines until I find scissors to break them down. Even once the dust settles, then begins the process of meeting neighbors, making new friends, and relearning the grocery layout.
Yes, I recently moved, and some of you can relate. Whether you’re moving with your family, into a dorm, or into your own place, relocating can be a stressful time. How do we respond to the changes when we prefer our comfort zones?
Thousands of years ago, God asked a man named Abram to move. His example shows how our faith can help us survive packing tape and uncertainty.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1 ESV)
As far as I can tell, God didn’t give Abram any advanced notice he would be moving. The previous chapter, Genesis 11, records his family’s genealogy and their one move to a place called Haran, where they all settled together (verse 31).
The word settled makes me imagine a community playground for the cousins, family cookouts by the campfire, and all the comforts of home.
Now, God called Abram to uproot his immediate family and leave behind his relatives. Doing so meant he would likely never see them again.
Has God asked you to make a hard choice? Sometimes, just “growing up” and moving out can bring mixed emotions. (Other times, both parents and teens can’t wait for the process to start!)
Often, we’re reluctant to give up the familiar, but when God calls us to go somewhere or do something, we can know He has our best interests at heart.
And so, Abram went. He packed up everything, even though he didn’t have an address to give the moving truck.
Faith obeys, even when it can’t see beyond the very next step.
Faith starts over
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (Genesis 12:4)
Moving at any age is hard, but can we even imagine what starting from scratch at seventy-five would have felt like?
Granted, life expectancies were longer in Abram’s day. His father, Terah, died at 205 years of age (Genesis 11:32). However, in many ways, life was harder. People traveled in caravans but not the mini-van kind. Horses and camels, not cars, provided much slower transportation.
When we think of moving, our biggest concerns are making friends at a new school, learning to live with roommates, or figuring out which aisle of the neighborhood Publix stocks Edy’s® cookie dough ice cream. (Yes, it’s my favorite.)
Abram had to worry about finding pasture for his livestock, digging a well, protecting his company from marauders, and keeping the peace among his traveling group. Turns out, his nephew Lot’s herdsmen didn’t like Abram’s, but that’s another story (Genesis 13:7).
When God asks us to “start over,” how can we make the best of the situation?
- Focus on what we’ve gained, not on what we’ve lost. Practice contentment in “whatever situation” we find ourselves, like the Apostle Paul did (Philippians 4:11).
- Put the “interests of others” above our own (Philippians 2:4). When we look for ways to bless others, we find ourselves blessed in return. No place feels more like home than one graced with hospitality.
- Remember that God stays by our sides during times of change. “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (I Thessalonians 5:24).
“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
If you’re going through a transition, move or otherwise, the future can feel uncertain, even scary. More than ever, we need to cling to God’s promises.
That’s what Abram did, and God promised him some things that seemed impossible! After all, his wife Sarai was barren (Genesis 11:30), and though seventy-five wasn’t the end of the road for him, he wasn’t a spring chicken.
But Abram believed God would do what He said (Romans 4:3). Yes, at times his faith wavered and he made some poor choices, but he continued to trust God to accomplish what He had promised.
And guess what? God did.
What promises help strengthen your faith? Here are a few of my favorites.
- Joshua 1:9
- Psalm 32:8
- Psalm 84:11
- Psalm 138:8
- Psalm 139:9-10
I challenge you to look them up … And please share some of your own in the comments below! Your favorite promise might just be what someone else needs to hear.
Faith that Moves – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)
When you can’t see the next step – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)