Today I learned that one of my very favorite friends is moving 6 hours away. While I am very happy for her and her family, I admit I am having a private pity party. I’ve had a few words with God on the matter, but so far I haven’t received a phone call from her telling me they changed their minds. Perhaps my motives in prayer lean a little too far to the selfish side. I’ve had two other good friends move away this past year. I am not used to being the one left behind to do my regular ol’ life—but without them in it.
When I was growing up, I moved out of state every 5 years (my dad worked for IBM, which we always say stands for “I’ve Been Moved”). I am used to doing the leaving, even though that wasn’t much fun either. The hardest move I ever made was from Oregon to Napa, California. When you are a teenager, moving to Wine Country and one of the most beautiful places on earth, really doesn’t seem appealing in the least. I cried so much and so hard that we almost didn’t move at all. Those were the days when we could only write letters…anyone else remember that? I have very distinct memories of sitting in the living room every day in the summer, listening for the puttering of the mail truck. When I though I heard it, I would RUN to the window, and if it was truly the mailman, I would rush to the mailbox to see if I got a letter from anyone. It was a loooonnggg summer.
Even though my life isn’t perfect today, it’s what I know. I don’t necessarily want things to change. I am comfortable with my friends and family and sometimes forget that people move on. I know in my head that God is fully capable of bringing me new, good friends. But I don’t WANT new, good friends. I WANT the friends I have now to STAY PUT. Being human, I don’t have the ability to see what’s coming and that it might be wonderful. I like things just as they are.
This type of thinking reminds me of when my kids were little. I remember going to a museum that had large models of life-size dinosaurs. Before we reached the room where they were displayed, there was an area designed for them to sit and dig for “dinosaur” bones. The kids played and played in this area, digging in sterilized sand for fake bones. They were having a blast and DID NOT want to have anything to do with moving to the next room. I told them about it, trying to convince them that it would be even better than what they were doing now. In the end, we still had to drag them out of the sand kicking and screaming so we could move on. They just didn’t believe me and honestly didn’t care to see what was up ahead—even if it was cooler and more exciting than what they were already doing.
I think that is how God deals with us. We often move on to the next thing, even when it’s a BETTER thing, kicking and screaming. I pretty much do this every time, even after I have been pleasantly surprised by what I found “around the corner” on many other occasions. For example, if I had never moved to California, I would have never met my husband and wouldn’t have the exact children I have and would have never followed him to Springfield, IL or gone to our church and met many of you fine people. I guess my point is this:
God knows and sees what’s ahead. He is like the parent who just wishes His kids would trust Him enough to be willing to stop digging for bones because they trust that He knows and sees that there’s something better in the next room—A giant T-Rex!
In Isaiah 43, God talks to the Israelites and says, “forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it?” I used to think that was about God telling the Israelites to quit moping about the past because He was fixin’ to bring them something amazing. But as I read it recently, I realized that all the talk up to that point was about them wishing for the past. God says to them, “Yeah, remember when I parted the sea and the waters and wiped out an entire arm—snuffed out like a wick!?!?!? Remember how awesome that was? Well, that was nothin’ compared to what is coming.”
God allowed you to have the life you have now, and He will navigate you through the new terrain of your future. I have to cling to that because I am very sad to see my friend go. But if I am willing to open myself up and believe that God will not only never leave me, He will bring me the exact people I need to walk the next leg of this journey with, then I am off to a good start.
She can move and I can move on with faith that God knows and sees.