Far Side

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Five-minute read.

If I settle on the far side of the sea,

Psalm 139:b

Far side.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, my older half-brother lived in Virginia.  Dad and Mom packed us into the back of the truck every summer, and we visited him.  I fell in love with the southern state, loving the intense heat, the smell of hops that fills the air around Busch Gardens, the hospitality that flows freely, and the opportunities I didn’t have in PA.  At a young age, I knew I wanted to one day live in Williamsburg, and when the opportunity came, I took it.

We choose where we settle.  In eighth grade, Mr. Stamler, my history teacher, assigned a project on our family history.  My ancestors came from Ireland and Germany, migrating to western PA from Connecticut in 1818 via an oxen-drawn wagon, living in a cave above the river for three years while they cleared the land for a homestead.

“I wonder where you will end up?” Mr. Stamler asked me when reviewing my project.  I’ve never forgotten his question, curious about where I will finally end up.  I didn’t consult God about the decision to move to Virginia, packing my Chevy Cavalier full of garbage bags filled with my Earthly possessions.  Asking the Lord for direction never occurred to me, thinking only of myself and my desires.

Thankfully, the Lord never abandons us, even when we make rash decisions that land us in unwanted places.  I don’t regret moving to Virginia, but I do regret flunking out of college in Pennsylvania and running away from my problems.  How would my life differ if I had stayed and dealt with the issues that caused me so much heartache?  What if I had graduated college in four years instead of seven?  I’ll never know the answers to those questions because I chose to do things the hard way, not dealing with my issues but running from them.

Wherever we go, the Lord goes with us.  Silently, He waits for us to turn to Him.  Unfortunately, we often wait until we have a problem before acknowledging His presence.  In God’s sovereignty, He doesn’t force us to live life His way.  True love requires a choice.  We must decide and commit to loving God, not dependent on feelings, but decisions.

Each morning, I decide to get up and read (or listen) to my Bible.  Reading plans with other believers via YouVersion encourages and uplifts me.  Now, I consult God when making a significant life decision, waiting for His direction before packing my bags.  When an opportunity arose to go to Egypt on a vision trip with ICM and visit churches, I sought God in prayer, taking the steps necessary to go and trusting the Lord to open and close the doors He wanted me to walk through.  When the organization canceled the trip because of the war in Israel, I took it as a closed door, trusting God’s guidance.

We can choose where we want to settle or allow God to guide us where He wants us to go.  People fear the Lord will call them to live in a hut in a third-world country, and sometimes He does, but more times than not, He doesn’t.  Jobs, military assignments, and family all determine where we eventually settle.  Letting the Lord lead us will take us places we can’t imagine.  But, as we’ve learned, wherever we go, so does God, even when we ignore Him in the decision-making process and settle somewhere not in our Creator’s agenda. 


Choose well.

Each of us can settle wherever we want.  God gives us free will and doesn’t force us to do anything.  We have choices, especially living in America, possibly too many options.  Following the Lord and submitting our lives to Him lets God choose for us.  Just like the door to Egypt closed, our divine Travel Agent will lead us step by step where He wants us to go.  Choosing well requires time and patience as we give God room to lead us.

God guides us.

Journaling Questions:

  1. Where have you always wanted to settle?
  2. What involvement does God have in deciding where you live?
  3. What decision do you need to submit to God and wait for His guidance?


Lord, forgive us for settling in places without first consulting You.  Thank You for never leaving us.  As we move forward, help us seek You first in all things.  Instead of letting the world dictate where we settle, help us let You guide us.  Take us where You want us to go so we can do what You want us to do.  IJNIP. Amen

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