They say “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Hopefully, that applies to those who read my blog! I have taken a 3-month hiatus from writing during one of the most stressful times of my adult life. I can say however that God has used these past months to draw me closer to Him and give me a fresh sense of freedom. I’m ready now, once again, each week, to share my heart and world to those who care to read. 🙂

There’s No Place Like Home

My wife and I have been renters for 12 years of our marriage and have enjoyed no less than 8 moves. Early on, in our marriage, we weren’t sure God’s direction for us and we wanted to leave ourselves available and transient enough to go anywhere God called us. I grew up as a missionary kid roaming the world with my family. When people ask me where I’m from I tend to say, “From everywhere and nowhere”. There have been many times when I identify with Pauls statement in Philippians 3:20, “we are citizens of heaven (not of this world)…” It’s always good to remember that this world is not our true home.

home2When we moved here to SC we once again rented just in case God wanted to switch things up on us. I’ve learned that my nature is to be nomadic. I like variety. I like change. I like adventure. However, this wandering spirit can sometimes keep you from fully embracing God. You’re probably familiar with the famous story of the wandering Jews. For 40 years, after God freed them from Egypt, the nation of Israel wandered in the desert. God used this time to teach them dependence. But the desert was never the destination. We need the lessons of the desert but we aren’t meant to dwell there.

Lessons From The Desert

I’ve been reading through the book of Joshua which describes the fulfillment of the Promise Land God had intended for Israel all along. When Israel left Egypt God wanted to take them straight to the Promise Land but Israel’s rebellion, sin, and lack of faith required some desert wandering. I had to admit this summer that my heart needed a little desert wandering too. At first, I fought it. I complained. (I could have competed with the Israelites for the gold medal) I gave up. I turned inward. I resisted. There’s something funny about the desert though, kicking the sand doesn’t make it go away. I saw myself in the story and I knew that I had to go through the desert to get to the promise land.

The desert teaches us humility. It teaches us dependance. It teaches us to find our true home in God. When God finally turned the Promise Land over to the nation of Israel He gave instructions on who got what piece of land. Each tribe was given an allotment. But when it came to the tribe of Levi Joshua 13:33 says this, “But to thehouse tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.” I read this verse over and over. I starred at it and let it sink it. No matter where I go, desert or promise land, I’ll only ever truly have one home; God. With Jesus, I’m always home. 

The Faith To Follow

On August 6 my wife and I bought our first house. We settled down. It was a HUGE step of faith for us. We chose to look beyond the problems and dream of the possibilities. God took us through the desert and by faith we stepped into a new land. We believe God called us here to make a difference in our city. We believe this is our promise land. The Promise Land still comes with work to do but it’s also flowing with blessing. Since that day God has been blowing us away with his provision and blessing. Our ministry has exploded with growth and life change. Most days I just feel like I’m along for the ride. God is moving and I’m following.

What changed? Not God. He is unchanging and always gracious. Our hearts, our perspective, our faith? I’m not sure what it was exactly. Unfortunately, it isn’t about formulas; “If you just do ______ then God will make everything great!” But what I do know is that more of Him and less of me is always a good idea. Submission and humility are the best postures for receiving the promise land.

When Jesus is your inheritance and you let go of everything else this saying is absolutely true: “there’s no place like home.”

-Josh