“After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses.’ ” Joshua 1: 1-3 MSG
In 2012, we moved our family to SE Asia. With kids aged 9,6 and 3, we boarded a snow covered plane in Raleigh, North Carolina and landed twenty-four hours later in the equatorial heat of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While our luggage took a detour to Geneva, our courage arrived in tact and our overseas adventure began.
Our first stop was the hotel with it’s 30 foot ceilings, giant silk carpets, and bright, hand-painted tiles. Most of the guests wore burkas or head scarves that elegantly flowed as they walked down garden pathways of potted palm trees. The Muslim Call to Prayer from mosques all over the city and the smells from spicy foods and sweet, milky teas filled our room and called us onward. We enthusiastically stepped into the hotel lobby only to find ourselves sitting in a restaurant ten minutes later with 3 jet lagged kids snoring into their plates of noodles.
At some point during the first two months, our eyes cleared. We were sufficiently rested and our fridge was stocked with more than restaurant takeaway containers. Our grocery carts were no longer filled with apples, pears and bagels, but with dragon fruit, jujube and lentils. We drank teh tarik, rather than coffee…well, sometimes. Our son, Sam, bought a “kit” for rugby, rather than pads for football. Our daughter, Molly, had perfected her bargaining skills at the local markets and our youngest, Annie, preferred chicken and squid satay to a hamburger and fries. Food no longer tasted exotic but just different, the locals seemed less like National Geographic characters, and we started learning the language beyond currency and directions.
About this time, we started to feel homesick, longing for the comfort of friends and family, and nostalgic for all things Chik-fil-A. Fearing a coup, I took inventory of the events and divine prompts that had led us to Malaysia. Topping the list was the Ben Rector song, Song for the Suburbs, which gave voice to what I had already been feeling. (I dare you to listen to that song and not feel compelled to make a major life change. The lyrics are literally “Don’t let the suburbs kill my heart and soul.” Seriously, do it and report back.)
Next was the fact that my husband was ready for a new challenge professionally. He had worked diligently in corporate America for 12 years and was now equipped and inspired to invest in others. Last, was the depth of character and breadth of perspective that we were currently gaining as a result of living in the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable. The signs were clear. God had indeed told us to go.
For 30 days, Joshua and the Israelites mourned the death of Moses. One the 31st day, the Lord commands, “Get going.” After having served as Moses’s right-hand man for many years, circumstances now called for Joshua to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land himself. In verse 3, God encouragingly says “I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses.” That promise, coupled with Joshua’s obedience, changed the future of the Israelites from nomads wandering in the desert to settlers in the Promised Land; from a steady diet of manna to sowing seeds and reaping a harvest.
Like Joshua, God asks us to step into new paradigms with the solid assurance of Isaiah 30:21 which says “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Where is God asking you to go? What is keeping you from taking the first step? What will motivate you to move toward your “Promised Land”?
Please join this discussion in the comments. We would love to hear where you are going.