Faith-filled Adventures Await at any Age
by Deacon Christine Maddux
My last column ran on the brink of our long-awaited yet suddenly-precipitated move from Brevard to Sapphire. That column was about trusting God during life’s transitions, and I can heartily attest that our trust in Him was thoroughly well-placed as my husband and I weathered this monster of a move. There is no doubt that God heard the prayers that we and faithful friends offered up to Him, and that He supplied the stamina and help we needed day by day to shoulder the hard work and meet the seemingly impossible deadline. Examples of God’s faithfulness during the whole process could fill the rest of this column, but far more enduring and edifying examples can be drawn from the Bible.
Scripture holds many fascinating stories about God calling people to move and sustaining them as they obeyed, including the story of the patriarch Abraham. Abraham (then known as Abram) grew up in Ur of the Chaldeans, a flourishing trade city on the Euphrates River. But as Bible teacher Beth Moore put it, God called Abram out of UR – the “Usual Routine.”
One pivotal day God said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” He also promised great blessings to Abram and his future descendants (Genesis 12:1-3). With a call to leave his Usual Routine – his country, his ancestral home, everything familiar — and to go to a yet-unspecified destination, “Abram left, as the Lord had told him” (Genesis 12:4). And by the way, he was 75 years old when he answered this call.
Abram’s trusting “yes” to God was the seed of the Chosen People and their rich history in the land of Canaan. That “yes” led to an incredible adventure of faith, filled with challenges, surprises, missteps and mighty blessings (Genesis 12-25). Such adventure still awaits us when God calls us out of our Usual Routine.
In the aftermath of God’s call prompting our move, our household is well out of its Usual Routine. Our new home is gradually getting settled, but nothing is in its usual place. The dogs recognize familiar scents, but wander in search of new sunny spots for their naps. My husband and I find that our focus and ministry responsibilities are already changing, and there have been some interesting surprises. It is both disorienting and exciting to follow this new path.
What Usual Routine might God be calling you out of? Few people are called to leave everything behind on the scale that Abram was, but there are many other significant changes God may ask us to make in order to follow His call, and at any stage of life. In the Bible, David was called at 15 to change his occupation from shepherd to king. At 80, Moses was called back to the land he had fled to free the Israelites from slavery. Peter, Andrew, James and John were called, perhaps in early adulthood, to leave their fishing businesses behind, follow Jesus and become fishers of men. Well-established Zaccheus was called to dine with Jesus and embrace a radically new life of integrity. Teenaged Mary was called to risk her reputation and her wedding plans to bring Jesus into the world. All of them saw incredible outcomes when they of stepped out of their Usual Routine by faith into God’s new direction for them. And as we say “yes” to Him, the same is true for us today, at any age.
Originally published in the Crossroads Chronicle, March 27, 2019.
The Rev. Christine Maddux is a Deacon at Christ Anglican Church in Cashiers. She invites you to join her there Sundays at 10:30, and welcomes your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org