A desert road

There are many reasons why people move. Career change, job promotion, job loss, natural disaster, ailing parents, new grandchildren, or retirement are just to name a few. But does anyone ever leave a place when things are going well? And if so, why in the world would they do that?

That’s how I felt about our move to seminary in the beginning (as did many others) and that’s how I sometimes still feel. Things are going well. We like our ministry, we like our house; we LOVE our neighbors and friends. Our kids are happy, we are happy. So why move? And furthermore, why move into a seemingly more difficult situation? When people have said, “What about your ministry here?” or “Are you crazy?” I completely agree with them. I wish I could say exactly why this is the best thing for us, but I can’t.

The Book of Acts tells of Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, teaching about Jesus in Samaria. The people of Samaria responded overwhelmingly well to Philip’s teaching and the Bible says “there was much joy in that city” (Acts 8:8). BUT in the middle of this joy, God moved Philip from a place of excitement to a dry desert road. Why?

The simple answer is: for His good purpose. An Ethiopian court official happened to be returning home down that same desert road and was confused by the scripture he was reading. Philip joined him and explained the ancient scriptures and how they tied into the recently good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Ethiopian was moved and asked Philip to baptize him. After he was baptized, Philip was taken by God to a new place and the Ethiopian went away rejoicing. No doubt ready to return to his country with a story to tell.

Toby has a desire to go to seminary; we believe that desire comes from the Holy Spirit. While there is much joy in our life here, God is calling us to that “desert place.” While I am sad and even confused to leave what I have come to know and love, I am eager to see what new joys God has in-store for our family and to understand His good purpose.

I was listening to the radio the other day, and I caught the end of an interview with David Crowder, a popular Christian musician, the last words he said were, “Just seems like when you’re obedient, there’s something beautiful waiting.” I’m banking on that.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  ~Jeremiah 29:11-13


Filed under Ministry, Spiritual thoughts

6 responses to “A desert road

  1. Walt

    Wonderful, Rachel. In addition to ‘desert road’ you could add the words exile and banishment to the mix. The oft-quoted Jeremiah passage is in the middle of a letter Jeremiah sent to the Israelites already in captivity in Babylon. He tells them to settle down for the long haul and participate fully in the life of the place where they find themselves. After 70 years (not 4), God will gather His people back to Himself. Why? “Because He knows the plans He has for them…” So… I don’t know if the seminary would take kindly to being compared to a desert road, exile, captivity or banishment… but the message becomes more powerful in those circumstances. Dad

  2. Ginny Hyland

    Thanks, Rachel. This encourages me to trust even when I don’t understand all that happens. I also think of Jesus’ birth and how many times God told Joseph and Mary to move, and I have never figured out why some of the moves were necessary. I like your answer…for His good purpose. So when I don’t understand all that happens in my life, I can still believe His good purpose is being accomplished. Praise the Lord!

  3. Christina

    See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

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