This weekend Dave and I visited Cleveland for five days to explore the job/life/housing situation in Cleveland as we pray about our next stage in life with InterVarsity.
About two years ago I took a regional job where I work with 50 InterVarsity chapters in a four state region- Cleveland is waaay more central to the work I do than Grand Rapids is. So there are some pragmatic reasons for moving that would make travel more easy, less costly and a better way to serve the students I work with. We’ve been praying about moving to Cleveland for two years, which just seems like forever now that I’m writing it, but we didn’t want to make this decision hastily.
These past few months especially Dave and I have felt a sense from God that we’re supposed to go to Cleveland for more than just pragmatic reasons, though they are some good ones. I keep thinking about the passages in scripture where God tells Abram (later Abraham) to leave everything familiar to him- his family, the land and the country and go. It’s always been amazing to me that Abram goes obediently, though I’m sure he was pretty freaked out at times. He goes, not knowing what “go to the land I will show you” will look like, but he trusts God when he tells Abram that “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
I’m not trying to compare myself to having the faith of Abraham, I’m pretty freaked out about the possibility of moving too- leaving my family, a place that I’m comfortable & familiar with, friendships that I’ve been thankful for over the years & networks of people who have blessed us tremendously. But, similar to Abraham, I do feel like I too can rely on the promises God has for my future, whatever it holds. I’m reminded of the promise that God shared in Jeremiah- a comfort to so many who have been in transitions where they aren’t sure what will happen next: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” This promise was spoken to the prophet Jeremiah when the Israelites were in exile- a pretty crappy time in their history.
All that said- we had a great time over these past few days. It doesn’t feel like we’re at a crappy point in life, unlike the Israelites- it feels like an exciting time to trust God with the future, take steps forward even when it feels risky, and keep an open mind about what may be in store for us in Cleveland. This weekend we loved spending time with people who made us feel so welcomed and cared for, people we love having fun with and could see ourselves serving with, and homes that- holy crow- are amazingly priced with TONS of potential, in sweet locations. Even that was an answer to prayer since we don’t have a ton of moolah to spend on a house.
So- stay tuned dear blog-o-philes in the adventures of Dave and Jess as we see where God leads us!