After many years of wanting to move from California closer to my family in Tennessee, I finally got my wish. My husband Chris came around to agreeing with me that Orange County was too fast-paced, expensive, and overpopulated. It was time for us to leave. Chris got a job in a city located about 20 minutes from where my family lives, and we bought a house there. Though I was excited and happy about relocating, the cross-country move still proved stressful and exhausting. As I unpacked boxes, cleaned ceiling fans and blinds, dusted baseboards, and established care with new doctors and dentists for my son and I, I swore to myself that I would NEVER move again. Funny how God laughs at my plans!
After spending only one year in Tennessee, Chris obtained a better job in a small city outside of Portland, Oregon. I was happy for Chris, but selfishly I could not fathom the idea of re-doing all of the work I had done less than 12 months prior. Nor did I want to face the reality of the upheaval ahead. Couldn’t I just hide under the covers and make this all go away? Where was I going to get the energy and motivation to sell our home and buy another one? Wasn’t there somebody else who could take on this massive project?
More importantly, was this move what God wanted for us? As I prayed about whether relocating to Oregon was His will, I thought about Exodus 33 when the LORD told Moses to leave the desert and lead the Israelites to the Promised Land. Prior to giving this command, the Israelites had angered the LORD by worshiping the golden calf (Exodus 32). As a result, God informed Moses that He would not be going with the Israelites “‘because you [the Israelites] are a stiff-necked people'”…(Exodus 33:3b NIV).
After Moses pleaded with God, the LORD assured him, “‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest'” (Exodus 33:14). In response, Moses said, “‘If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here'” (Exodus 33:15). Moses asked God not to send the Israelites to the Promised Land unless His presence would go with them. Moses’ request became my prayer – I will go where God sends me, but if He doesn’t go with me then don’t make me go!
The Lord made it clear that moving was indeed His plan for us. Though saddened, scared, and overwhelmed by the prospect of relocating to a town we had only spent three days in when we visited for Chris’s interview, where we had no family support, where our son would have to go to yet another new school, etc., I wanted to be obedient to God and to know He was with us in all of it.
“Don’t send me if you don’t go with me” is not just a prayer for people facing relocation or travel to distant lands. It is a prayer for any life situation in which we embark on something new – a job, a relationship, a church, or a ministry. Beloved Warrior, are you considering making a change and your heart’s desire is to know that God approves of what you are doing and that He goes with you? If so, then I encourage you to embrace Moses’s words. Promised Land or not, I only want to be there if the Lord’s presence goes with me!