When people learn my dad is in the military, one of their first questions is, “How often have you moved?”
This question immediately stops me, not only because I have to count–now up to seven–but also because it brings to mind memories of every place I’ve lived. I can almost see my friends, my schools, and my homes–all left behind in places to which I’ll probably never return.
Maybe you’ve experienced moving to a new country, state, or even that house down the road. And if you haven’t moved, you’ve probably experienced some form of change in your life.
I’ll be honest, moving makes it easy to become bitter towards God. I can’t number the nights I’ve laid awake in a makeshift bed, sobbing into my pillow and wanting to ask, “Why?”
God, why did I have to leave my friends? Why wasn’t I able to finish the school year? Why do I have to start over… again?
Every time we move, I wonder what plan God could possibly have for this trial. And yet, every time we settle, despite my ungratefulness he proves his faithfulness again and again, growing me in ways I never could have expected.
Here are three things God reminds me during every move.
1. God Sustains Me
Some days you’re happy, healthy, and content, so you see no need to ask God for anything. When you remember to pray, it’s usually a request such as, “God, let me ace this test,” as the test is placed in front of you.
Often we treat God as a backup measure to ensure our lives will go smoothly. We’ll pray to him when it’s convenient, or when we need a little assurance to add to our confidence. In times like these, God has become our last resort, not our first thought.
But when I move, my security slips away. I’m in a new place, faced with new people and new surroundings. I can no longer find certainty in myself, because half the time, I’m not even certain I’m okay.
It’s at times like these I feel closest to God. I’m forced to plead with him in prayer and ask for his guidance. And every time, he answers me. He draws me to himself and gives me a sense of calm only he can provide.
Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
What trouble are you facing right now? What would it look like to trust God as your refuge and strength? How will you see his faithfulness at work?
2. God Answers Prayer
As a family, we keep a prayer journal. When we move, many of our requests reoccur: prayer for a house, new schools, or a gospel-preaching church. And every single time, God answers our prayers, usually in ways we don’t expect.
When we moved to Washington, D.C., we prayed for a house and got a home four doors down from a good public school.
When we moved to Annapolis, we prayed for a school and one year later found ourselves enrolled in an incredible private Christian academy.
When we moved to Virginia Beach, we prayed for a church and were enveloped by a welcoming, Gospel-preaching community of fellow homeschooling believers, some of whom we still stay in touch with years later.
Every time we move, we’re faced with uncertainty over these basic necessities. But God always answers, whether it’s days, weeks, or months later.
Colossians 4:2 reminds us to, “continue steadfastly in prayer,” even when it seems God isn’t listening.
The prayer notebook has helped me immensely. It’s incredibly encouraging to reread prayers he’s answered in the past. If you’re struggling to recall God’s faithfulness in your life, maybe consider keeping one of your own.
3. God has a plan
If you grew up attending Sunday School, you’re probably familiar with songs such as “God is so Good.” Back then, it was easy for me to sing those songs and fully believe every word. But when I moved, God seemed to be the opposite of good. Would a good God rip me away from my budding friendships? Would a good God send me to my 5th school in 5 years? Would a good God take away everything and leave me lonely? It just wasn’t fair. Or was it?
When life seems unfair, sometimes we forget to recognize God’s sovereign plan.
Jeremiah 29:11 was originally spoken to the Israelites, God’s chosen people, during their exile in Babylon. But as Christians, we should remember its implications for us.
It says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God is not promising to make our lives easy and blessed–far from it. Instead, through trials and tribulations, he promises to sanctify us and conform us to Christ (Romans 8:29). He has a plan for each of our lives–including yours. God wrote your story before you were born–even before the world was created. Instead of resenting his power, you can find comfort in it, trusting that his sovereignty and faithfulness will guide you.
God’s Faithfulness in Our Future
Because of Christ, we are God’s chosen people (1 Peter 2:9). He rescued us from the exile caused by our sin and will one day return us to his Father’s kingdom, where we will praise God’s name forever and ever.
We can move again and again on this earth, but ultimately, we do not belong here. Earth is not our home–Heaven is.
So next time you’re tempted to doubt, remember God’s faithfulness. Remember that he alone is your sustainer, the one who hears your every prayer and holds your life in his hands. And remember that, despite times of change, he will someday lead you to your eternal home where you will reside with him forever.