Monday, June 14, 2010

What's Next?

The Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” Genesis 21:1

God granted the inheritance to Abraham through the promise.
Galatians 3:18

It was this time a year ago that I renewed my relationship with Dave, the moving van operator. The morning he arrived in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to load our boxed possessions onto the big orange Allied truck, his face seemed familiar to me. As we compared notes and reconstructed history, Dave and I came to the realization that he had been our driver 5 years previously when we transferred our household from Madison, Wisconsin to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Now he would be in charge of relocating our stuff to Gnadenhutten, Ohio. And when he pulled up to the 3-story brick American Foursquare-style home in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, Dave recalled having been in the house years earlier and negotiating furniture around the tight bends in the staircase for yet another Moravian pastoral family.

He would never say this aloud because he’s a very polite man, but as he packs and unpacks lamps and mirrors and bicycles and pianos, I’m pretty sure Dave questions the efficiency of the Moravian Church and the sanity of its clergy. (But hey, we do keep him steadily employed.)

Listening for and responding to God’s call is hardly ever an efficient prospect. In fact, it’s usually pretty complicated and messy. Look at Abraham and Sarah. I don’t suppose they found nomadic desert travel to an unfamiliar territory to be especially easy. I don’t imagine that they considered bearing and raising a child, an heir, in their advanced years to be a model of efficiency either. And regarding sanity—well, that characteristic is often scrutinized when someone claims to listen for and hear God’s voice.

I’ve been listening and hearing that voice since I was a teenager, and I think I’ve been faithful in responding. That doesn’t mean I always understand why God wants me to be in the places God puts me, or how I’m supposed to accomplish what it is God wants me to do. With all humility, I confess that I have no clear sense of what my purpose is in this land God has been showing me for 12 months now. Some days I find this discouraging. Other days, I find it to be energizing as I try to discern what’s coming next. In all of it, I find encouragement in the way God blessed Abraham and Sarah for their faithfulness, for their willingness to follow God even as they stepped out into the vast unknown.

There’s no big orange truck in my immediate future. I don’t expect to be seeing Dave again anytime soon. But I do expect that God has more to show me in this place. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow.