I want to move to Texas. Anybody who has known me for very long knows that about me. They may not realize how badly I want to go to Texas. They may not know that many nights I cry myself to sleep thinking about my daughter, her husband and my grandchildren and longing to be with them. I try hard not to make my entire life here in California about how much I hate California and want to move to Texas. I think if I did that I wouldn’t have any friends anymore.
I’ve been away from my family for over 40 years. I moved to California when I was 18 or 19 years old, got married, divorced and married again, and had children who are now grown and out of the house. That entire time, I’ve lived away from my family. At first it was beneficial, I’m sure. Sometimes we have to break away to grow up properly, get a different perspective of the world and of our place in it. But over the years I’ve missed being near my mom and family. My daughter has moved and settled with her military husband in an area not too far from where I lived as a child.
Now I want to go home. In fact, with every grandchild that has been born (we are now waiting for number five) the pull home has grown stronger. So strong in fact, that now it seems it doesn’t just tug at my heartstrings, it seems now to be pulling my guts out through my nostrils until sometimes I can’t even breathe.
I’m not going to go into all the reasons I can’t just pick up and move back right now. Suffice it to say that moving back has been a growing dream for the last ten years or so. And picking up and moving to another state doesn’t sound like such a big deal. I got used to moving when I was young. We moved often and it was no big deal. Just another school. Another job. Different friends. It all looked the same to me. Unfortunately, in 40 years a few things have changed in my life and I find myself having to let that dream die. If I am to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, then staying put is what I must do.
My oldest grandson will be ten soon and shortly after, grand baby number five will be here. I will visit for as long as I can, but it won’t be long enough, and then I’ll have to come home again. The whole time I will be wondering why God doesn’t just fix this and let me move to be with my family?
Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother, Lazarus was sick. They knew he’d come because they were all like family. Not coming right away just wouldn’t make any sense. All told, it was four days before Jesus arrived at the scene where people were wailing and grieving the death of his friend Lazarus. What the heck? Any one of us would have picked up and left the instant we got word that our friend was dying. But Jesus waited four days.
Mary and Martha surely didn’t understand it.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32)
Jesus could have fixed it and didn’t. He chose not to. Why?
Because Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Death cannot defeat him. Death of a loved one or death of a dream.
Then Jesus said. “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (v.40)
You all know the rest of the story and Lazarus lived again to tell it himself.
Mary and Martha didn’t have their eyes on the big picture. They had their eyes on their own pain and all that was going on around them Who could blame them, after all? Their brother was dying.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
I can’t really keep my eyes on the bigger picture, because I don’t know what the bigger picture is. But if I keep my eyes on myself and what I’m feeling and on my daughter and her four and a half kids and the hell she’s going through trying to raise them alone while daddy is gone so much of the time working and going to school, if I can only see my loneliness and my desire to be with my family, then I could very well miss Jesus and the glory of God.
Does that mean I believe he will resurrect my dream? I have no idea. But I know that he can because that what he does. He resurrects. I also know that he let Lazarus die for a reason. And as much as it hurts to let go of something that seems so easy for me to do – just pick up and move to Texas, I wouldn’t trade any of it for God’s glory in me and around me. And has hard as it is to be outnumbered every day by the beautiful children God has given her, I know that my daughter – deep down somewhere – feels the same way as I do.
I know he has a plan, and not just for me, but also for my family. It would be easier if I knew what it was. It would be nice if God consulted me on these things, but then I think I would only get in the way.
The bottom line is, for me, there is no choice, but to keep my eyes on Jesus who continues to redeem me every day, perfecting my faith even as I struggle against it.
Lord, help me keep my eyes on you, in the times when I see your glory and also in the times when I can only see my own loss. And if you choose to resurrect this dream, help me first become someone worthy of such of gift, because I learned to trust you through the pain.