Thus says the LORD. . .
“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
~ Isaiah 43:16-19 ~
There comes a time, for all of us, when change is dictated by our Lord. The Teacher, in Ecclesiastes 3:1 wrote,
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.
C. S. Lewis said, “Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
After a period of waiting, the call to move from our home congregation of 24 years came — rather abruptly. I have been struggling with this call for some time now. But my husband put it into perspective, “Maria, we are not leaving the families with whom we have bonds, for they are in our hearts and we will still see each other, here and there.”
This has been heart-rending, but when God says, “Move!” you move. This is the church my Lord led me to soon after I became His. Don and I met and were married there. There, our daughter was dedicated at three weeks old, was baby Jesus for the Christmas pageant at seven weeks old, and has been instructed by loving and godly teachers from age two.
We have laughed, cried, prayed, worshiped, and rejoiced with our family. We have attended baby dedications, weddings, baby showers, and memorial celebrations. We have helped with harvest festivals and vacation Bible school. We have served together in evangelism and teaching the junior high students. I taught children that were toddlers to upper elementary with another teacher or alone. Don has been on the worship band as a bass and acoustic guitar player, and sometimes drummer or percussionist; and he began and led a youth band for several years. We have seen children grow from babies into young adults.
Sunday was the first time I was away from a family I love; it was also a time to get to know a new family. The reality of leaving hurt. For the first time, I wondered if that was how those who preceded us felt when they left. But God met me at this new place; we may relocate, but God is always with us. The message He gave me at our new place of worship was about doing things on His terms, not mine; and keeping my ears attuned to His voice.
I know that with time the hurt will diminish and the knowledge that we are being obedient to His will for us will soften the pain of departure. Our Father has already begun to soften the pain through a picture He gave me last week.
I was thinking about what had happened when I saw a picture something like this:
I saw a whole heart torn apart; while one side stayed up, the other began to fall. While the half heart was falling, Someone (Jesus) came along, took it in His strong hands and merged it into a vibrantly beating whole heart. My understanding is that He knows the wounds in our hearts, is binding them up, and making us whole in Himself, through another congregation. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.”
This is a new season in our lives and a time to plant ourselves in a new place. There is the assurance of new ministry opportunities and of new relationships. Yes, He is making a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert for us, and we are thankful that our Father loves and cares for us.
Father, we look to You to sustain us and guide us as You move us from one family to another. Thank You for the road that You have already made for us as we transition. Be glorified in our lives; in Jesus’ name, amen.