A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Our lease is to the point of needing to be renewed or deciding that its time to move. I have moved every two to three years of my entire life. Can I say I really don't like moving. I've noticed where my kids were resistant to the idea of moving last year they are ok with it this year. What we need is more space for less money then where we are currently. What I need is for the Lord to lead me and to help me to find the right place, it just needs to not be a bid deal just a momentary disruption.
My mind goes back to our last move which was dreadful. We thought we had a place, gave notice, that place fell through and we could not find another by the time we said we would be out. Our landlord already had a new renter ready to move in. We knew we were moving to a smaller place from a big five bedroom home and so it meant getting rid of a ton of stuff. We ened up moving everything to storage because we could not find a place and staying at my moms an hour away for the summer while we continued to try and find a place. I say it was dreadful but God had his hand on it because we needed to be at my moms. She fell and got a really bad MERSA like infection and ended up in the hospital for a big chunk of the summer. She would not have been able to manage with out my help. It was very stressful my husbands un employment had run out and he had still not found a job. Sometimes God's path leads us through difficult passes and in those times we really have to trust him. Following God is not always just floating down the lazy river some times you have to get out and carry the dang canoe because the river is to low or too treacherous at a given point.
So I tell myself its ok, lots of things are different this time. We have much less stuff, my husband does have a job, kids are older and more able to help, the housing market is different and I see lots of places for rent. Perhaps it is time.
So I am to the point of ok, maybe. We could use more space, the kids share a tiny room. Its a 2 and a 1/2 bedroom place with 5 people. (Our friend Donnie who crashes here on one couch most of the time has become part of our family).
So I am going to God and seeking his direction. I know I will need to get past my own resistance which I'm pretty sure is rooted in the stress and difficulty of the last move. At that point everything was difficult and some would say you must have missed God and been off track and I would respond that you have an easy cheesy view of walking with God. I will remind you of the lives of the prophets and the disciples they were stoned, beaten, ridiculed, all but one died a marters death. Following God is a whole lot more than praying and getting that front parking spot at the grocery store kind of faith.
I choose to follow him everyday and I will tell you that some days and some seasons of life are difficult. John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
We have gotten a very cushy idea of what it means to follow God. People think serving God is attending a church service once a week and being entertained and their kids having a blast in the kids service. While we do little or nothing to change the world we live in. I can't believe how hard it is to get people to be involved in God's compassion, mercy and justice. We struggle to find Christians that will even give one week a month to come and help feed the homeless. We've adopted a view in America that big and prosperous means God is for it. Little and small struggling means you must have missed God. To have to struggle at all means God must not be in this thing.
Philippians 1:27 -30
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
Please don't think I have some marter complex and go looking for difficulty. Its not that at all what I am saying is life is full of joys and struggles and I follow a God who promises to be with me through thick or thin. He will never leave or forsake me. Look at the lives of David and Joseph their journeys had some long and difficult seasons that they made the best of and God saw their faithfulness.
Look at Job - his own wife says to him just curse God and die and he stays the course even thought for a season he had lost everything but his life. Honestly I think our most powerful testimony is seen when we go through trials and don't turn away from Jesus. People are watching, they see us go through things that they know would crush them but realize that we have something that they don't.
Isaiah 43: 1b-3a
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
There are difficult times and seasons in life which we must pass through. If you stop every time things are a little difficult you won't get to God's destination and plan for you. You will have overcome nothing.
Silver and gold are refined by fire. Wine is made by pressing the grapes. Unless a seed falls into the ground and dies it does not produce a harvest. One can not just live on the bless me refrigerator verses taken out of context. READ the whole Bible and you will see that God is with his people through the ups and downs of life. He knows we are going to screw things up and he has a plan and a willingness to accept us like the Father accepts the prodigal son.
I love this quote about Jesus by my friend Ryan Mahoney "Jesus, that’s the guy that started this whole church thing, started a revolution and ascended to the throne of the Universe with 12 people and no money. He healed and taught in small towns in an occupied territory in the Roman Empire."
My point being that following God is about more than our personal comfort. He has called us to be salt and light in this world. He has called us to make a difference for his kingdom in the here and now. Not to just huddle up in our churches, and wait for his return.
So ugh moving - I wonder if the Isralite's felt that way each time the cloud and the piller of fire moved and signaled for them it was time to pack up and head to the next place it would stop. I am just starting to think and pray and explore this whole idea. I'll keep you posted.
Lord you know the decisions each have before us. Walk with us, guide us, lead us, go before us. Help us to be tuned to know your leading. Give us peace to know you are with us in each season of our lives, be they easy or difficult. You know exactly what things we need in this moment and you are more than able to provide everything we need to do what you have called us to do.