There are a few stories in scripture about being told to get up and go. Abraham comes to mind [Genesis 12] when God told him to leave Harran and go (who knew where) and Abraham wandered to several places looking for the right one (and even, for a time, into Egypt). When God first spoke to Abraham and Joseph, the “away” was more important than the destination.
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt . . .
God doesn’t always give us the big picture when we’re asked to leave one situation or place for another. In fact, I think the truly Godly adventures come with a pretty good dose of the unknown (may even a flat-out Star Trek mission “to boldly go where no man has gone before). Anytime we leave the familiar for the unfamiliar, there is trepidation and fear. If there wasn’t, then we’re probably not being straight-up about the departure. We’re thinking, I can always go back. Like so many twenty-somethings who are boomeranging back home after college while looking for work, they figure “home” is a good Plan B. But you see, Joseph didn’t have a back up plan. He was totally dependent on that voice inside his head that said “go” and had to hope he’d hear it again when (and if) a time came to return.
Me? I’m always second-guessing my destination. My not-so-private joke is that I prefer “planned spontaneity.” I don’t even like using a GPS because it’s a turn-by-turn description and too hard for me to “see” ahead. Give me a good old paper map any day. (And this is from a tech junkie!)
So, here’s the thing. If God wants me to head to Egypt (symbolically), chances are I’m going to ask for a Fodor’s. Maybe, if I had a really strong guide or someone who’s been there before, I would be more willing to go.
This is where the Body of Christ could really come into the picture. You see, each one has been to one of these Egypts along our way. Right? Even me. Like everyone, I’ve had times and places I didn’t really want to go, but I had to go and despite my proclivities, I didn’t always have a map: I learned through experience. Boy, did I learn. (I’m pretty sure those “Egypt” trips would have been better had I gone willingly; had I gone with trust in the one sending me there.)
That’s the key: I can say or do all kinds of things to avoid Egypt and yet, I end up there anyway–the long way; like the Israelites who had to put in those extra 40 years in the desert because they were unwilling to trust God for the land of milk and honey. They thought they knew better.
I believe I have a certain obligation to go back and tell/show the other ones about the way. I know there are folks still hanging back? Granted, I blazed a pretty loopy trail, but I also got some insights and short-cuts in hindsight.
As I begin this new, and last quarter, of my life, I believe I am being asked to take on a new role.