I’ve been inconsistent with a particular daily devotional that I started a few months ago. I see this amazing book, online study plan, or Facebook study group and decide immediately that I need in. The book will draw me in and I’ll stick with it a few weeks, but then life gets in the way and it gets left behind. This particular book was left behind on my bed stand.
My family and I moved to Central Illinois four and a half years ago from Washington state. We picked up and moved here because my husband was promoted in his job and he had to move to this area to take advantage of that position. Central Illinois was always a temporary stop in our life plan. The position he was moving into was a “preparation” position, solely to prepare him to move into the next promotion, which would require another move. The expectation was to be here a year or two and then on to the next stop on this journey that God has us on.
Obviously, since we’ve been here four and a half years and not the one or two years planned, things have changed. Lyle changed his job a few times. We’ve moved several times within this area. We’ve changed churches a few times. But, we’ve never truly allowed ourselves to settle here. From where we see it, Central Illinois is still a stop on the route, but not the destination.
Last Wednesday, in the middle of a busy week, I found myself overwhelmed at the noise level coming from the three boys and my husband. It was too much sensory input, which happens to me quite often, and I needed to step away and collect myself. I was also getting ready to leave to fulfill a commitment to a friend. As I was getting ready, I sat on my bed and relaxed and breathed, taking in the silence and clearing my brain for a bit. In doing so, I noticed the abandoned devotional and decided to pick it up and read today’s entry.
It was an excerpt from Christine Caine’s “Unshakeable: 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word (March 9th entry).” It touched a thing in me that I didn’t even know was a thing. She was talking about Jonah and how he was called to go to Nineveh and tell the Ninevites to repent. Jonah was very discontent in this task to the point he ran in the opposite direction. Ninevites did dreadful things, which you can feel free to research on your own (book of Jonah, The Holy Bible). Because of these things Jonah didn’t feel that the Ninevites deserved God’s mercy and grace. Jonah thought he knew better than God. Jonah was disobedient and completely denied God and ran away.
Sometimes God calls us to do things that we don’t really want to do. Sometimes God calls us to a people we don’t really want to spend time with. Sometimes God calls us to a place where we most definitely don’t want to find ourselves. In the moment I read this devotional, it clicked in my spirit that we aren’t moving away. Central Illinois is not a stop on the path to a destination. Central Illinois is the destination.
I’d like to say that I’m happy about this, but I’m not right now. Not because there’s anything wrong with Central Illinois, but because I must now do work to change my frame of mind. Has there ever been a time in your life when God asked you to do something that you didn’t want to do? Has there ever been a time when God asked you to love on someone that is hard to love? What about that one thing God is pushing you toward that scares the living daylights out of you?
We can embrace these things and trust that God has a plan. It’s hard to do sometimes, but we must walk in the understanding that God knows best, and He has amazing things in store for us… things we can’t see and in places we can’t plan. Here we are in Central Illinois, without a clue as to what God has next, but excited to see Him moved and work through us. What do you need to embrace right now, right where you are, that God is putting before you?