The Difficult Part

Now it comes. In ten days, the movers come to start packing up what we haven’t already packed, then to load it in a truck and start for North Carolina three days after that.

Now comes the time we have to say goodbye to family, friends and church family.

We’ll be leaving behind our nineteen-year-old son so he can finish his schooling.

We’ll be parting with dear friends, colleagues and co-workers left to carry on good works we shared a passion for — but without us.

I’ll be leaving my church home for 24 out of the last 29 years for the third time to move out of state. I’ve moved back twice before. This time, there is no real prospect of that happening again.

There will be luncheons and dinners and opportunities to say our goodbyes in these next few hours. Oh, we’ll be back to visit from time to time — because we’ve left that son behind!

But it won’t be the same.

We’ll pray to be blessed with new friends and new church home, and undoubtedly will be.

But it won’t be the same.

There will even be others who’ll become valuable to the ones we leave and the works we enjoyed doing.

But it won’t be the same.

Life isn’t about things staying the same.

Faith isn’t about things staying the same, either … but about believing when you didn’t before … turning from the wrong you were convinced wasn’t that wrong before … confessing what you weren’t sure about before … becoming immersed in the life of Someone you didn’t know before.

It isn’t easy, and it isn’t just five steps, and it isn’t over when you’ve done them. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you a package deal of do-it-and-be-done when the reality is Jesus-did-it-so-you-can-too-all-your-life-long.

The difficult part is saying goodbye to your old life, when much of it really was good and nearly-perfect and comforting and comfortable.

I actually think it’s easier to face the challenge of moving on to the next part of your life and all of its discomfort and challenges that it is to leave the old life behind. The life-you-know calls to you and beckons you back, and as long as you revisit the good parts and not the bad, there’s nothing wrong with spending some time in Memoryville with familiar, cherished ones.

As long as you keep the visits short.

A lot of you folks reading this have probably moved your lives and changed your lives a lot more than I have, and you know what I’m talking about.

Whether you physically move your life or not, being transformed into the image of Christ daily involves all kinds of big and little changes to take you out of your comfort zone and deeper into the life of the One who gave His for yours. (Philippians 2)

Not everyone is called to be an Abraham and get up and leave their home country behind and go on to a new life of promise — some folks are called to that new life without budging a physical inch. I’m not sure it’s any easier.

There wasn’t, as nearly as we can tell, anything desperately wrong with Abraham’s life in Ur. It was probably a pretty good life. But he was called, and the patriarch’s example of faith is cited as prophetic of what must come for each of us:

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. ~ Hebrews 11:8

(And don’t forget Romans 4 and Galatians 3 .)

“He did not know where he was going.”

Yet he knew the direction to take, and Who would lead him, and that with each step he took, he could get closer to the One who called him.

Still, even knowing this … the goodbyes are the difficult part.

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4 thoughts on “The Difficult Part

  1. I’ve often thought that Sarah had a more difficult task than Abraham – after all, she’s not said to have had any great amount of faith, and yet she had to pack up her household and move as well, in response to her husband’s decision. “Honey, God’s told us that we need to move; where? Well, he hasn’t told us that – he said he’d let us know when we got there.”

  2. Hi, Keith! Sorry about the comment (and the timing, it looks like) but we weren’t sure how to contact you otherwise. Anyway, Mike Morrell and I really appreciate your blog, and think you’d be an excellent candidate for our Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like…when you get settled again: http://thespeakeasy.info

    Good luck!

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