Over the last several weeks, there have been times when I have felt the tiniest bit like Noah. You remember Noah? The old guy (over 500 years old!) in the Old Testament who chose to follow God’s directions and built a massive boat. I am certain that while Noah was building this ark, his friends and neighbors thought he was crazy! Noah knew he was NOT NORMAL, but he was OK with this. He was being obedient to God’s directions.
Now (thankfully) God has not directed me to build a boat! However, He has called me to serve Him in East Africa. What does this mean? (A good Lutheran question if ever there was one!) Well, it means I am in the process of raising support, getting rid of most of my possessions, and preparing to make a new home in Nairobi, Kenya. I am going to leave an excellent job, my incredible friends, and my amazing family. I am preparing to depart from beautiful Nebraska and all the comforts of knowing our culture, language, and social norms. Sounding a little crazy? I have talked with several people over the past few weeks who seem to think it is a little ludicrous. Let’s be honest, who just up and moves to Africa?
My answer to this is quite simple, it is a little crazy and it is definitely NOT NORMAL. However, do you know what is even crazier than moving to Africa? NOT moving to Africa. Yep, you heard me right. When God gives us a calling, we are expected to be obedient to this calling, whatever that may mean. Ever heard of a guy called Jonah? Yep, he was the guy in the Old Testament who God called to go to Nineveh. When Jonah didn’t listen to God, he ended up thrown overboard a ship during a raging storm and then swallowed by a large fish, where he spent the next 3 days. When that fish spit Jonah out—at God’s command—Jonah was given the second chance to be obedient to God. Did he do it? You bet he did!
While I don’t think I will end up in the belly of a large fish if I don’t move to Africa, I do believe that I will not be at peace unless I am obedient to God’s call. So, as you see, it is a little crazy to be moving to Africa; however, it is even crazier to not move! When God calls us, we must be obedient to his will and plan!
Now, the greatest thing is that the stories don’t end here! Noah was obedient to God’s plan and the end result: He saved his entire family and God gave him the rainbow—a beautiful promise to never flood the entire earth again! Oh, and Jonah, once he was obedient to God, he helped the city of Nineveh to repent and dedicate themselves to serving God.
So what can I take away from this? Yeah, it is crazy to leave my home, to up and move to Africa! It is NOT NORMAL. However, we serve a God who is also NOT NORMAL, who sent His only son to die on the cross for us, even though we didn't deserve it. I am motivated to be obedient, not because of fear of consequences, but because of my great love for Jesus! It brings me great joy to follow His leading! Thank you Jesus for calling me to East Africa—even if it is a little crazy!
“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.” Jeremiah 29:11