Then Abram moved
his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre...and built an
altar there to the Lord. (Genesis 13:18)
do you feel about change? Not the kind that occasionally accumulates in the
bottom of your purse and weighs it down, but the kind that picks you up and
moves you from one place to another.
I’m all for change that I calculate and plan, map out and schedule. But changes
that sneak up on me and take me by surprise...I’m not so much for those. Those
kinds of changes tend to take my breath away, trip me up, shift the ground
beneath my feet and leave me feeling unsteady and unsure.
We all encounter surprising changes in our lives now and then. Whether we
experience a change in our careers, our health, our relationships or just our
daily patterns, the unexpected jolt of a change can elicit any manner of
emotions from us, including sadness, anger, resentment and even depression.
I was a young mom living in LaMarque, Texas, I had gotten into the simple habit
of grocery shopping at a nearby Randall’s food store. The move to LaMarque had
not been easy for me and I had loathed the fact that I had left behind a really
swanky and freshly remodeled Kroger in Georgia when I moved there. (Grocery stores
are a big deal to me, by the way. You may not share my “need” for nice grocery
stores, but just go with me on this, ok?) But when I found the large, accommodating
and “nice” Randall’s, I had fallen in love. Shopping at Randall's was a weekly pleasure.
weekday morning, after returning from a two-week family vacation, I loaded my
two preschoolers into my mommy van and headed to Randall’s to replenish my empty
cabinets and refrigerator. When I pulled into the parking lot I busied myself
with unfastening my baby’s car seat carrier and directing my four-year old into
the store. I found a grocery cart, positioned Abby’s carrier into it, told
Daniel to hold onto the side of the buggy as usual and walked into the store. I
was already walking into the produce section and slightly sensing something was
amiss when a man frantically approached me and waved me down.
closed,” he said, flustered.
in my tracks and a little dazed, I quickly calculated in my head what day it
was...not a holiday...not a Sunday...what? But I apologized for my ignorance anyhow.
looking around and finally noticing the emptied shelves, I finally realized
what he meant. The store, my Randall’s, my grocery store was closing! Not just
for the day, but permanently.
I hastily removed Abby from the cart, took Daniel by the hand and walked very
quickly back to my mommy van. But before I even had Abby and Daniel fastened
back into their seats, the tears began to flow. I sat in the van and wept for
several minutes while my little boy looked on with saucer-big eyes. And then he
started to cry, too.
like to tell you that since that day, say, oh, 18 years ago or so, I handle
change much more maturely, much more in stride. Nope. I don’t.
I said, if I instigate the change, that’s challenging enough, but I can do it,
even with a little enthusiasm and anticipation. But you sneak up on me and
change things...and I’m still likely to fall to pieces.
why I’m so drawn to the story of Abram and his nephew Lot’s parting of ways,
found in Genesis 13:1-18 (worth the read!). Sure Abram instigated the change,
noting that it was necessary for the two families to go their separate ways
with their large herds of livestock and their numerous servants. But I don’t
think this chosen man of God, this man on a mission, this man who lived and
moved and breathed on faith, was quite prepared for the extent to which Lot was
about to change things. Lot didn’t just separate his flock from his uncle’s,
but he took the best land with nary as much as a “thank you for your kindness”
and moved his household away from his generous, faithful, loving elder.
way I see it, Lot pretty much dissed Abram. Not only were their cows and sheep
feeding on different grass, but the two men would now live very separate lives.
Abram had invited Lot to join him on the journey of a lifetime, but Lot chose,
at this point, to cash in his chips and take his winnings early. (I'm picking up on Abram's sorrow and disappointment as I read the Lord's instructions to Abram in verse 14 where He says, "Lift your eyes now..." I can certainly understand why Abram would have felt a little downcast here. Can't you?)
Abram sat in his tent and cried a little, the way I sat in my mommy van and
wept over my closed grocery store. But he didn’t sit there and cry too long.
Because verse 18 tells me Abram moved
his tent, went and dwelt in a new place. Moved. Went.
that speaks to me. I’ve gone through some changes recently. And I’ve sat in my
mommy van and cried. But I’m working on following Abram’s example too. I’m
moving. I’m going on. And I’m learning to dwell in a new place.
And did you notice one more thing Abram did when he encountered this unwelcomed
change? He “built an altar there to the Lord.” He worshiped God. And I think
that may be the key to handling change: to worship God in the midst of the
change. To bow to His sovereignty, His goodness, His provision. To confess His
trustworthiness, His love, His wisdom.
an unwelcomed change? I get it. Honestly I do. But after we’ve had a good cry,
let’s move, go, dwell in a new place, and worship God.
How do you handle unexpected changes? Do they throw you or excite you? How do you learn to dwell in a "new place?"
Labels: 2014 Daily Devotional, change