When God says “Go.”
Learning to leave is not easy when we really want to stay. I suppose it wasn’t easy for Sarah when God told Abraham, “Get you out of this place and move to the land I will show you.” That would have been hard for me, I know.
As nurturers and nesters, we like to have a place to stay and a place we belong. We enjoy the familiar and the comfortable. It’s okay to make a move, but rather unsettling to pack your bags to move when you don’t know where you’re going. That’s what Abraham and Sarah did. To read the story, you can click here.
They left familiarity and family to follow God. Cattle, tents, servants and all came with their package of leaving. They said goodbye and knew they might never see family again. They left because God told Abraham to go. Many, many people have missed out on blessings from God because they refused to leave when God said, “Go.” They have missed out on the blessing of learning to leave.
There are times God calls us to go, too. Sometimes it means leaving a job or a community. It might mean leaving kindred and country. Sometimes it means leaving grandchildren or grandparents. Yet when God calls us, we need to go.
When God calls us to leave
Sometimes God calls us to move for the safety or protection of our families. Sometimes He calls us to become witnesses in other regions. When He calls, we need to be willing to go. If He calls us to leave, it is because He has a plan.
This was true with Abraham, and it is true with us. God’s plan for Abraham was to build a nation from his offspring. It’s not likely that God has that kind of plan for us, but He has a plan, nevertheless. We will never be truly happy if we are out of His plan.
Leaving for Safety
Sometimes we must leave to get out of harm’s way. It is never right to continue staying with someone who is harmful or dangerous. When children are raised in an environment like this, they think it’s normal and it’s what a person must do.
It is never right to keep our children in places where they are harmed, abused, or molested – no matter what relationship the abuser has to them. Nor is it right for an adult to continue to abuse another adult – no matter what the relationship is to that adult.
To choose to stay and allow someone to be harmful hurts everyone involved – the abuser and the one abused. Hiding things under the rug or hiding in the shadows, hoping things will be better tomorrow, is not the way to find healing and hope. Some of us need to spend more time learning to leave.
Relationships are difficult. When a person is demanding and clingy, putting “distance” between us can sometimes bring relief and healing. It does not mean we cannot be a friend; it might just mean we can no longer be best or intimate friends. In doing this, sometimes we have to “leave” the relationship. It doesn’t mean it always has to be this way; but it does mean that things need to change for the relationship to be healthy.
When leaving is wrong
Our motives for leaving will tell us whether we are right to leave. Are we leaving for selfish reasons or because we are called by God? Are we leaving to pursue personal gain or because God told us to go? Are we leaving to start new because dealing with the old and the now is too difficult, or because God has given specific direction? Are we leaving because we just want to “go back home” or because God is moving us back home?
Staying or leaving
When God calls, there is a bright, new world out there waiting for us. When He hasn’t called, we are stepping into dangerous turf to make plans on our own. No matter where we live, we are safer there in the will of God than any place else in the world.
It’s not enough to say, “I’ve prayed about this . . . ” We need to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that – whether we go or whether we stay – this is a call from God, and not one of our own doing.
Leaving because God says so
Our leaving must be based on fact, and not feeling. It must be based on truth and not emotion. Learning to leave is a process. When God calls us to leave, all the statistics about raising children near grandparents or in a church with other peers, all the concerns about not allowing our children to be influenced by pagan cultures, and all the arguments about where our children should go to school are null and void because God has called. When we’re done arguing and bartering with God about how important it is to live near family, to become settled where we are, or to be able to stay where it is comfortable, then it is time – because God said so – to pack our bags and go to whatever land God is calling us.