Monday, November 17, 2014

The Promised Land

When I started the Jonah bible study it struck me at how tied to his homeland Jonah was. Jonah saw Israel as his very own promised land. Israel, the promised land. A gift from God.

Israel was his comfort zone, a place of promise, hope, love and fulfillment. A security blanket if you will, away from the outlying countries and belief systems.

That is until God called upon Jonah to leave his beloved country and seek out a city known for its cruelty and pagan gods and who was a sworn enemy, Ninevah.

Leave? Go into enemy territory and share God's word to those who certainly took great joy in destroying the lives and well-being of those around them. And God wanted Jonah to share His convicting words.

Now I'm not sure about you but I'm thinking that would've been near on impossible for me to comprehend. God, the almighty God, wanting Jonah to go and preach His word to a people so remarkably cruel their entire reputation breathed fear into everyone who heard of the city.

That had to be hard. Impossible to comprehend. And yet... God asked for Jonah's obedience in a situation that didn't make an ounce of sense to Jonah.

Have you ever been there? Been in a situation like Jonah?

I'm in one right now. And I'm not liking it anymore than Jonah did.

Now I'm not hopping a ship and sailing 2,000 miles in the opposite direction but unfortunately, if I'm being completely honest, I am in tiny little ways, not being obedient. I'm digging my heels in and basically saying, “Sorry Lord, I don't want to go.”


I hate to admit I'm convicted of my guilt.

You see, a decade earlier God blessed us with answers to prayers when after a lengthy time of unemployment, we moved from the northwest to a city closer to my family here in the south.

When I say I did the happy dance the moment we crossed the state line, it's an understatement. Literally I felt like a 1,000 pounds were released the moment I knew we were actually gone and in my mind, not ever coming back.

It didn't take long for us to settle into our new environment. We were thousands of miles away from heartache and hurt we were living on a continual basis when we lived up north. Peace settled into our lives and for the first time in years we felt we were able to really relax and breathe.

What an answer to prayer! God had given us the peace from painful family dynamics through distance. When we lived north, every part of our lives were some how intertwined in heartache, drama and stress.

Fast forward a decade later and we are now facing a return move back north. Our promised land has run its course and God is asking us to move back to the land of turmoil.

And as my daddy says, “This is where the rubber meets the road.” The time has come to face old demons, walk in faith and trust God.


Easier said than done at times. When I'm busy prepping the house for sale or I'm so busy at work I can't think about it, I'm okay. But in the still quiet early morning hours of my prayer time, fear washes over me like a tsunami and I can hardly breathe.

Distance was my friend. Through distance I was able to heal with God's help. I was able to take my weary, battle worn soul and allow it the opportunity to mend.

But now, God's asking me to walk in obedience and head back to my own personal Ninevah.

Lord I thought this was over. You enabled our family time to heal and separate ourselves from the heartache we felt all those years ago when living north but now, we are being called to Arise and Go!

Go north!

I'd be lying if I said I was confident this would go well. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared to death.

Bah! I'm shaking in my boots. Facing my own Ninevah and leaving the promised land of security and safety is overwhelming. I know deep down I don't have the strength to do this on my own. In fact, I know whole-heartedly that leaving my promised land and heading into enemy territory will be something that God will have to carry me through from beginning to end. I know there's not a single thing I can do in this situation that will lend itself to a positive outcome. I'm human. I stumble and fall. Those old painful bones I buried years ago, surface at times and they still hurt. My first instinct is to run, just like Jonah did. My second instinct is to argue with God and ask, “why?”

Why take us from our home that is peaceful and happy? Why take us back to a place that I don't want to go and have me face those who have wounded me deeply?

I don't know.

God does.

And yet, it's still hard. This is our home now. We have friends, family and a life here. It is peaceful and filled with great memories. Not so the case up north. Up north, memories are painful and ugly. They encroach on my need to live a peaceful life.

But complacency is not where God wants me to be. He wants me to be in His will. And being in God's will takes obedience and a yielding of my will to His.

Not easy. In fact, it is painfully difficult. I don't want to do it. But I will. I know I will. Because ultimately, my walk with Christ is more important than my feelings.

So even though my emotions tell me to run, my heart and soul, which lie with Christ, reassure me that God has me in the palm of His hand.

I am not alone. God is with me every step of the way. Just like He was with Jonah.

Trust and obedience sometimes are difficult. Especially when hurt is involved. But God loves us enough to never leave us where we're at. He wants to heal our hearts, mend broken fences and draw us closer to Him. And sometimes that road isn't easy. Sometimes it means leaving our Promised Land and heading right back to Ninevah with Him.

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