Authored by Steve Hearts
Are you facing—or about to face—a drastic change in your life? Perhaps you are changing schools or moving into a new house, or maybe your family is changing locations, and you’re needing to start out in a completely new place. You may not like the new location, but you aren’t old enough to move out yet, so you’re kind of stuck with where your parents decide to be. Does the uncertainty of the future scare you? Does the thought of leaving behind your present friendships, comforts, and conveniences sadden you?
Having lived my whole life as a missionary in many countries, I can certainly relate to these feelings of fear and uncertainty. I’ve moved more times than I’m able to count. While I looked forward to most of these moves, there were some that started out with great difficulty. However, each one eventually proved to be part of God’s divine plan for my life.
When I was a kid, I lived in the States, happily and comfortably with my family in a house that had a swimming pool and plenty of space to play outside. For me, it was like heaven on earth. I had many friends my age with whom I studied and played and who were also from missionary families like I was.
Then my parents decided to open a smaller mission center in a different, but not too distant, location. They were quite happy about this change. I, on the other hand, was devastated. None of the families with kids my age were joining us, and I dreaded the thought of leaving behind all the friends I had made over the past years. Although we were close enough to our former location for me to visit them once in a while, I still missed them terribly.
My parents were well aware of how difficult this move was for me. But they also foresaw benefits and advantages which I did not see. Over time, though, these benefits became obvious to me as well. Our new situation enabled my parents to pay more attention to my scholastic needs, since their ministry was much less demanding. Although I was often lonely and missed my friends, that was where I made the most progress with learning to read Braille. By the time we moved again several months later, I was able to both read and write in Braille. It was not hard to see God’s wisdom in calling us to move when we did. It proved to be well worth the difficulty I’d experienced in the beginning.
Several years later, when I was a teenager and we had moved to Mexico, it became necessary for my parents to temporarily move back to the States to take care of some business. I didn’t want to go with them. But since I was being homeschooled, I had no choice.
Having to leave Mexico devastated me. I was the keyboard player in a newly formed Christian youth band, and we were just beginning to book shows. I hated being pulled out of this because of what I deemed a “little situation” my parents needed to take care of.
Reluctantly, I accepted the circumstances. The benefits of this change did not take long to make themselves known. For starters, I was able to catch up on my schoolwork, in which I had fallen considerably behind. While in the U.S., we stayed with one of my brothers, and were around and able to lend a hand when some rough times came his way. By the time his and my parents’ business had worked out and we returned to Mexico, I was nearly finished with high school. Furthermore, I returned to a far more fruitful music and outreach ministry than the one I’d left behind and very easily took up where I’d left off.
All that to say, despite the initial discomforts I felt when difficult changes presented themselves, in the end I’ve never regretted trusting the Lord and waiting to discover the good that was being prepared for me in each of these situations.
During times of change and transition, I’ve always been encouraged by the story of Abraham. Genesis 11:31–32 tells of his father Terah’s attempt to make the journey from Ur to the Promised Land with his entire family, only to end up settling down in the land of Haran until his death.
In the first two verses of the following chapter, God tells Abraham, whose name was still Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.”1
Considering how marvelously the Lord sustained, protected, and took care of Abraham, it’s easy to see that Abraham’s obedience paid off. God clearly fulfilled the promise made to him despite the obstacles he faced along the way. He and his family probably felt sad about saying goodbye to the loved ones they were leaving behind. Those were the days before you could easily keep in touch via telephone or Facebook. Abraham couldn’t look up his destination on Google Maps either. The only “GPS” system he had was God.
Even so, as Paul says of Abraham in Hebrews 11:8: “He went without knowing where he was going.”2 In spite of what he was unsure of and what he could not foresee, he trusted God, obeyed, and set a wonderful, motivating example for us all to follow.
Another thing that sustained Abraham was the knowledge that no earthly destination or dwelling place is ever permanent. Paul says of all the heroes he mentions in Hebrews 11 that they “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”3
Paul also says, “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”4 It is easy to forget that this life is a journey, not a destination. We are simply passing through this temporal world on our way to the eternal one. Each time we make a move or change in this life, it is simply another step in our journey toward the next life. If we keep this in mind, times of change and transition will be much easier to bear.
As goes the old hymn,
“This world is not my home. I’m just a-passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”5
It’s possible that although you know Jesus, you may be having a difficult time finding a sense of belonging, no matter where you go or what you do. If that’s the case, you can remember and hold on to the promises that the Lord has a special place prepared for you—both in this life and the life to come. Regardless of what may be changed or altered on earth, we’re only here temporarily. Our eternal destination is being prepared with Jesus in heaven.
He promises us, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”6
1 Genesis 12:1–2 NKJV
2 New Living Translation
3 Hebrews 11:13 NKJV
4 Hebrews 13:14 KJV
5 This Word Is Not My Home, lyrics by Jim Reeves
6 John 14:2–3 NKJV
Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2015 by The Family International