Have you been aware of God’s presence when you travel places? Have you asked God to help you with the difficulties of packing and moving to a new location?
Less than a year ago, we moved. After renting the same house for three consecutive years, we packed our things and moved to a place of our own, only 10 miles away. “What’s the big deal?” you may ask. Well, consider this: after 31 years of marriage, and having moved more than 20 times (including several times from one country to another!), we have logged thousands of miles (by land and air) between all the homes we have ever lived in. When you consider all the times we have had to put our things into bags, boxes, suitcases and barrels, one more time around can be a psychological mountain (even if it is just a 10 mile move).
Oh, did I mention? We love moving. That is, we love the adventure that moving brings: meeting new people, decorating a new house, learning what it’s like to live in a new area, taking our training/calling and putting it to work in blessing the lives of new people. But to keep things in perspective, we do not really enjoy the actual moving: long hours of sorting and packing, garage sales, carrying the things out of one place and into another, and all the cleaning associated with both ends of the experience.
Now, add another element to this equation: our three children. When they were very young they could not help us very much; we needed to help them (i.e. more work for us!). When we made our third move from one country to another they were ages 5 and under. Now that was a challenge! Not to mention acquiring 5 passports, immigration papers, inoculations, and what not.
Moving means uprooting and resettling; leaving familiar things behind and embracing the unknown ahead. As much as we might find moving to be a kind of adventure, it is still filled with pressures and stresses that are hard on the family relationships; especially on the couple, husband and wife, who are responsible for keeping the family happy and healthy through the whole process. When they get tired and stressed, who do they turn to that will help them stay happy and healthy in this process?
On one occasion, the night before our international flight, I became so exhausted with the packing and storing that I leaned back on a wall and slid down to a sitting position on the floor. To my wife and daughter, working on the far side of the same room, I breathed out: “That’s it. I can’t do another thing. I have no strength left in me!” My wife could have reminded me that the flight was hours away, or that she would not be able to finish the rest alone… but she didn’t. She empathized with me and allowed me to stop and slowly regroup my failing energies in order to complete the remaining tasks.
The secret to our survival, as we have moved again and again, is the fact that we have not traveled alone. There is someone who has accompanied us on every single move! He is a very special moving companion; he never gets tired, never acts like he hasn’t had his morning coffee, never criticizes, and has never hurt anyone’s feelings with an unkind word. However, he also has never packed one thing, lifted a single box or suitcase, held a door open or even made a phone call to the movers. In fact, we have never really seen him with our eyes. Still, he is the one that can help us get along with each other, go through the difficulties of moving, and be filled with hope about the new place we will be going to.
The person I am talking about is God. He gives us strength when we get tired, reminds us to show grace when some tired family member speaks a harsh word, and promises to be with us both on the journey and when we arrive at the new location. Ours is not the first family God has traveled with. He told Abraham to pack up and move, and that he would personally show him the new place he would live in. Later Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, was on a trip with God, and God said to him:
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go”
That is exactly how it has been with us: God has gone with us and has watched over us wherever we have gone! What a great friend to have with us when we move.
30 Day Devotional
This resource can help you and your family encounter Scripture together and make deeper connections with God and each other. This has been designed to be used during the month of July, but you can use it at any time. We suggest you begin Day 1 on a Sunday because some activities are designed around the weekend and Sunday worship. God bless you!