Moving to another country isn’t easy. It means leaving the familiar. It means letting go of one identity and carving out another.
I experienced this when moving to England as a young wife. I didn’t understand the culture. Every person I met was new. And I wasn’t understood.
But as I walked the city of London in a daze, on every pub I passed, there was the same huge sign – “Take Courage”. Only later did I realise that Courage is a beer, but God used those two words to get me through.
God told a man called Paul, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”* Whatever our transitions, God will give us strength.
We spent this Easter walking the Yorkshire Dales and everywhere we looked, we saw sheep. But while the ewes walked sensibly from place to place, the lambs leapt about like crazy jumping beans. And those lambs kept losing their mothers, baaing with agony as they tried to reconnect.
I laughed at their antics, but then a verse came to mind: “We all, like sheep have gone astray, and each of us has turned to our own way…” (Isaiah 53:6) How often I forget about Jesus in the excitement of life, and gambol into lostness.
Jesus understands. He goes into the fields. “He calls his own sheep and leads them out.” (John 10:3) We might lose Jesus, but he always calls us back.
People often ask me, “Where is home for you? Is there a place you feel like you belong?”
“Home isn’t a place for me,” I say. “I grew up with refugee parents who could never settle. Derek and I have moved a number of times. Home is about the people I love, where I am loved. It’s about where I feel safe.”
Yet, loved ones move on and my ‘home’ dwindles away. Suddenly I feel unsafe. But God steps in. The Bible says, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)
There are times when the waves of life roll in, crashing on our shores. A couple of weeks ago I almost lost someone very dear to me. Now someone else is slipping away. I keep thinking, “It’s going to be hard to survive this loss.”
Then, out of the blue a text came in the night. Someone passed on a message to me. “Eva, I am for you!” From God.
I would like to share this same message with you. Have you been up most of the night? Are you experiencing some kind of grief? Could it be a decision you have to make? Or, maybe you don’t feel strong enough to stand up against a wrong? Whatever it is, God is for you. Let him be with you. You are safe.
The other night my mobile phone’s GPS told me that my thirty-minute journey would take two hours! Another accident, I thought. I followed the directions. Then it said, “Turn left on Bicycle Route 6.” What? It thought I was a bike!
I reset my phone, and it took me down a single-track road. Four kilometers later, no lights or habitations around, tall metal bollards blocked my way. Only bicycles could pass through. I came unglued. “I’m a car,” I cried out, “not a bike!”
Then it hit me. I wasn’t a car. I wasn’t even an insignificant dot to a satellite in the sky. I was scared, and God’s precious daughter. I could trust HIM… I turned off my mobile phone and prayed. God got me home with his GPS.
All of us make plans of one kind or another. Most of our plans are good. But, will we ever get them fulfilled?
Many of us will. But a few of us will get lost, ending up somewhere we never intended. Others of us will spend our entire lives trying to make our dreams come true. Others will just laugh at the thought that plans ever work.
Yet, I have noticed that some have a goal that transcends all plans. They don’t even have to say what it is. Their lives speak it out for them in silent words. “I will show you the most excellent way… Follow the way of love.” (1 Corinthians 12:30, 14:1)
It hardly ever happens. Derek and I stopped. We stood in a beech wood. There was no wind, no noise, no people, just us. We watched leaves fall from the trees, one every few seconds. We heard the “plif” as each one landed.
Life is like that. We can’t hear anything until we stop. Today I heard an agitated voice. I listened to the silence behind their words, and I heard the “plif.” What that person actually meant was, “I feel so alone. No one listens to me. Please accept me.”
Jesus stops with us in the silence behind our words. He wants us to hear his “plif.” “I comfort all who mourn… I bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.” (from Isaiah 61:2-3)