Monday, January 12, 2015

The Journey to the Promise Land

I imagine most of you reading this are familiar with the Promise Land.  

It is the land God promised to Abraham and his descendants back in the very beginning of the Old Testament, the land that lies along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.  Abraham settled there after he left Ur but just a few generations later his descendants ended up in Egypt due to a famine that spread through the lands.  The Israelites grew in numbers during their time in Egypt and out of fear of their rebellion, Pharaoh enslaved them, all of them.  Their life under Pharaoh was awful.  So awful that the Israelites groaned and called out to God to deliver them.  So God sent Moses to guide the Israelites back to the Promise Land, the land flowing with milk and honey, the land God had always planned for them, the land where they would finally be right where God wanted them. 

Wouldn't you just love to be there; in a place where the fields you are working (whatever those "fields" might be) are fertile and the harvest you reap is abundant; a place where you know this is what God had planned for you and you are right where he wants you to be?  

The problem with "there", with the Promise Land, is that it is almost always not where you start.  Just like the Israelites started in Egypt and had to journey to the Promise Land, we often start a fair distance away from where God wants us and we have to journey to our Promise Land.

No one knows the exact route the Israelites took to the Promise Land but scholars estimate it should have taken approximately one month (give or take) walking on a direct route to reach the land.  Instead, the Israelites spent the next 40 years wondering through the desert. And it wasn't because they were enjoying the process!!!

Not three days after their miraculous escape from the Egyptians, the Israelites were ready to turn around and go back.  You see the journey to the Promise Land was hard! Way harder than they thought it would be.  You see the journey to the Promise land is rarely easy.  It wasn't back then and it isn't today.  And regardless of how awful our old life may have been there is something about the familiarity of it that one begins to crave when the journey is long and hard.  

Yes, life with the Egyptians sucked.  But walking through a desert with no water was no picnic either.  And the Israelites figured at least they knew what to expect from the Egyptians, no dream of a better life, no  promise of a better land, could comfort the pain they were facing on the journey. 

Can you relate to that?  I absolutely can!!!  The past two and a half years have been a journey to MY Promise Land.  And there are days it is harder than I ever could have imagined!  There are so many days I want to give up, go back to what I knew before - no books, no papers, plenty of time for my family and friends.  But I know that isn't where God wants me.  That is not where I will find fertile fields and abundant harvests.  That is not the place God has always planned for me to be.  And the journey to this Promise Land, though hard, is part of God's plan for me.  

The journey to YOUR Promise Land is part of God's plan for you too.  I don't know where you are today, perhaps you are already in your Promise Land, if you are, I am so happy for you!   Enjoy it, live it well.  You are right where you are meant to be!  But if you're not, are you willing to consider where your Promise Land might be?  Are you willing to start the journey?  It won't be easy, I don't say that to discourage you, because this is a journey you absolutely must make.  But I want to be honest, it will be hard.  But it will also be so very, very worth it.  

It is time, join me on a journey to the Promise Land.  It's where God has always planned for you to be!