Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling"1 (Lyrics)
Genesis 12:1 – Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you." (NKJV)
There are many such places in the Bible where God speaks to people directly, or through an angel, or by way of the Holy Spirit. But not all of us get such clear instructions. Let me explain.
In December of 1966, the company that I worked for was awarded a big pipeline project in Austria. We were going to do the design in an office building in Vienna, and I was asked to be the project accountant. I had just returned from two four-month single-status assignments in the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, while my wife and three little children lived in Holland. I had made up my mind that I was not going to go single-status anywhere any more. However, a long-term project in Vienna sounded good; but then, I was told that I could not bring the family (yet).
So on January 9th, 1967, I left the family again. After some time in Vienna, we were told that in the not-too-distant future, we would be able to bring them. So my colleagues and I started looking for places to live in that city of three million people. It had to be a house that we could afford, which would accommodate five people, near the American or English School bus stop, and close to a subway station — hard to find. We even contemplated resigning and returning to North America. But then, things started to fall into place.
I found a house, and work started in earnest. On the first of March, the family came. My wife found her way around, locating a grocery store, a doctor, a dentist, and a hair dresser. The older children were enrolled in the English-speaking school system and the little girl in an Austrian kindergarten, and we started to attend the Vienna Community Church.
We lived there for four years, and even though we went there reluctantly, those were four very rewarding years, personally, professionally, and spiritually. Even though we had gone to church all our lives, we got deeply involved in the work of the church there; we all learned another language; we enjoyed going to operas and operettas; we became friends with some professional singers at the church; and we made some good friends, both at work and at the church.
And looking back, it was the Lord guiding us to that place, although we sure did not know it at the time — but I can see that now.
There are many times in our lives when we make personal decisions. Sometimes, they are made for us, and it is only later when we see that it was God's guidance in our lives. As the psalmist wrote:
Psalm 121:5a,8 – The Lord is our keeper; the Lord shall preserve our going out and coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. (NKJV, paraphrased)
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are so many times in our lives when we have to make decisions as to what to do and where to go, and we pray that we would always seek Your will in our lives. Even when we don't clearly hear Your voice at the time, may we later discover that You were indeed leading us. We thank You in Jesus' name. Amen.