As I am writing this, I am sitting comfortably at my own desk, in my own room, with a blanket, a cup of hot chocolate, and a cat. But by the time this devotional is published, I will be in Russia.
Some of you may be thinking, “Wow, that sounds exciting!”
The more sensible among you, however, might realize what this really means. I will be in Russia during January. One of its coldest months. Historically speaking, going to Russia in the winter has never been a wise decision.
Don’t misunderstand me – I am beyond excited for this trip. But I’m still allowed to be nervous. I always start to panic the week before a big trip because that’s when I realize how much there is to do. I haven’t even begun to pack.
And besides, it’s Russia. In the winter. I’m leaving my cozy room, my desk, my piles of blankets, and my cat to go to Russia in the winter. (I’m told they will have hot chocolate there.) Honestly, being nervous just sounds like good sense at this point.
Travel is great. It’s exciting and eye-opening. I can think of no way I’d rather spend New Year’s Eve than in Moscow at midnight, and I wouldn’t give up this opportunity for anything right now – not even for the comfort of my own room.
But travel is also uncomfortable – especially if you’re not just traveling for fun – because it does involve giving up things – the comforts of home, familiar faces, and your daily routine.
In my experience, it’s always worth it. Still, if the idea of going to a foreign country, far from your family and the place you’ve called home, doesn’t make you just a little apprehensive, then you probably have no idea what it’s like to be in a foreign country, far from your family and the place you call home.
In today’s LivingItOut, we will explore the character, Abraham, who had to say “goodbye” but in turn received the blessing to say “hello” to a new opportunity.
I can only imagine how Abraham (then Abram) felt when God said to him, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)
Of course, Abraham was able to take some of his family – his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot – with him, as well as all of his wealth.
I get one suitcase under fifty pounds and a carry-on.
Then again, I’ll only be in Russia for 10 days. In another couple weeks, I’ll be back at my desk, writing another devotional. Abraham, on the other hand, was making a permanent move. He never returned to the land of his father.
Also, while I have a detailed itinerary outlining where I’ll be, when I’ll be there, and what I’ll be doing while I’m there, Abraham was flying blind. Yes, he had God’s guidance and assurance of safety, which is more reliable than any man-made schedule, but God didn’t give Abraham a step-by-step schedule of his journey – the people he’d meet, the trials he’d face, where he would make camp each night. He was traveling by faith. He was asked to say, “goodbye”, to something comfortable and familiar and to say, “hello”, to an unknown opportunity.
(As much as I want to have faith that strong, for now, I’ll book my hotel rooms ahead of time.)
Of course, there’s one last detail that probably made Abraham’s journey far more difficult than mine will be. Abraham was 75 years old when he left his home.
Sure, we’re told people lived far longer back then, and I imagine that longevity came with improved health. Still, asking a 75-year-old man to pack his things, say goodbye to most of his family, and set out into the unknown … well, it feels like a bit much.
But God did ask this of Abraham. And “it was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land … He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents.” (Hebrews 11:8-9)
And you know what? I don’t think Abraham regretted it, because God kept his word. Not only did God protect Abraham and his family during this journey, but he also blessed Abraham with his long-desired son. And though Abraham did not live to see it, through that son, God blessed Abraham with an entire nation, which eventually inherited the land God had promised him.
And not only that, but God blessed others – all of us, in fact – through Abraham. Through the stories of his nation, we were blessed with the Bible, God’s word. And through Abraham’s lineage, and that of his promised son Israel, we were blessed with our Savior, Jesus.
Here’s my point. God does not call us to easy, comfortable lives. He likes to challenge us – some of us (Abraham) more than others (me). Either way, it can be intimidating, even frightening.
However, when God calls you to something, he will not let you down. Not only will he bless your life through this calling, but he will bless others through you. Sure, he won’t bless all people everywhere through you, like he did through Abraham. But in some way, others will benefit from your faith and obedience, even if it’s something as humble as helping students learn English.
So don’t worry, and don’t be afraid (or at least, don’t let your fear stop you). When God calls you to something, he always makes it worth the journey.
Hopefully, he’ll call you to somewhere warmer than Russia.
Do you feel God has been calling you to something? It doesn’t have to be something big, like moving to another country. It could be going on a short-term mission, moving to a new town, or even finding a new way to serve where you are right now.
How can you step out of your comfort zone to better serve God this year?
What is the next step in your faith that God wants you to make?
Act. Our faith is meant to grow. Define a change you can make to improve your faith this year, then set realistic, trackable steps to achieve it.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your servant Abraham. Thank you for his faith and obedience – without it we would not have your holy Bible as we know it. We ask that you would help us to grow in obedience as well, following the paths you’ve called us to even when they seem challenging. Help us to listen to your guidance and trust in your protection. Your will be done. Amen.
This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton Lechner is a college grad currently working at her local library. In her spare time, she volunteers as an ESL teacher and freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.
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