Sometimes being here feels wonderful and exciting and I can’t believe God’s blessing in bringing me to this place and blessing me with a job. Other times, like today, I wonder what on earth I’m doing here. God, why did you bring me here? Why did you take me out of the place I knew, from the people I loved, to set up camp in this random place where transport never stops and the orange smog never clears? And why bring me to something I clearly can’t do, with challenges beyond my reach, struggling out of my depth? What’s wrong with me being in on Your plans?
The wisdom of my incredible mother took me to Exodus, where it didn’t take a lot of reading or praying to see myself reflected page after page in the fearful, cynical Israelites. They change their mind more often than the British weather. One minute they’re praising God for getting them out of Egypt; the next they’re challenging His decision to ever get them out in the first place. So it is with me. I prayed for a job and a new direction. God gave me a job and a new location. I told him I couldn’t do it. He gave me a friend to take the step with me. He gave me incredible family and friends. He provided lovely people at a good church. He heard my friend’s prayer and put not one but two Christians in the place I work. He answered every fear of the last weeks. And yet after one yucky day, I hear myself say to God, ‘What were you doing bringing me here?’ And turning on myself to say ‘Why did you ever think you could make it?’ Just like the Israelites, I spent last year moaning to God that I didn’t have a job and didn’t know what to do and needed Him to make radical changes in my life. Now that I have a job and a new direction, all I can do is moan at God that He took me from a place I was apparently so happy in and put me in a job I find challenging.
The interesting thing about the exodus from Egypt is that even though the Israelites cry out to God for freedom, they have no way of attaining it; and the minute they get a taste of it, they’d rather go back to the known, even if that means turning their back on freedom.
I totally get this. Even if the present state is mediocre or paralysing or ridden with anxiety or holds you hostage- it’s a much safer option than flying into the unknown, even on the promise of your God. Or so I would see it. Surely, however, we’re most safe when we are relying fully on God and where He wants to place us, even if it feels more risky than our own known prisons. This reminds me of my favourite lyrics, potentially ever, from Brooke Fraser’s ‘C.S Lewis Song’:
- “‘cos my comfort would prefer for me to be numb / than enjoy the impending birth of who I was born to become”
My comfort is a lot better off knowing exactly what restrictions, strongholds and barriers surround my own life. I’ve got used to living with them. It’s far more frightening to trust God and believe that He is the one who can bring us into more freedom.
Similarly, this move means growing pains and effort and tiredness and emotion; a lot more bother than I would have had if I’d stayed where I was. Instead of complaining that God has brought me out here to sink, or thinking that God won’t be bothered with me now that I’m not involved in full-time Christian ministry, I have a choice, a leap in the dark. I can choose to believe that He’s brought me here and, just as with the Israelites, He will graciously hear my unfounded complaints and choose to bless me despite them.