“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27………………….
I was talking with the Lord one day as I was in the thick of a fiery trial about the possibility of going back to where I had come from. What stood out to me most of all is that I would be comfortable there, if I went back, at least on the surface anyway. Why? It was familiar territory. Familiar people. Familiar everything. There’s something comfortable about the familiar, even when the familiar isn’t perfect, even when the familiar is hard, don’t you think?
This is what I said to the Lord.
“But it’s comfortable there,” I told the Lord.
“That’s exactly what the enemy is going to use to try to get you to go back. Do not go back.”
As soon as I heard the words DO NOT GO BACK, I knew there was a message in this. Why did the Israelites want to go back to Egypt? Because it was perfect? It couldn’t have been farther from perfect. But it’s what they knew. And they weren’t so happy, to say the least, about what they were finding, and with the challenges they faced, as they journeyed from bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land. God had brought them out of one place to bring them into another, but they didn’t like the in-between. It was new, and scary, and hard, and uncomfortable, and oh so unfamiliar.
But this message isn’t about the Israelites; it’s about us. And it’s about our “in-between places.” It’s about the parts and pieces and seasons of our life’s journey in which we have come out of one place, whether good or bad, whether geographically, physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationship-wise, situation-wise, circumstances-wise, etc., and in which we are headed to wherever God is taking us next. To wherever He is leading us forth.
God has a purpose for us even in our in-between places, and this can be anything from growing us to blessing us to testing us to using us to help and bless others to anything else He desires, and our in-between places can be terribly traumatic, unbelievably trying, beautifully wonderful, astoundingly exciting, or anything else for that matter.
Regardless of the nature of our in-between places, we as humans sometimes have a tendency to want to go back, to go backwards, to what is most familiar, no matter how horrible, or wonderful, or whatever, simply because it seems it would be easier, more comfortable, more inviting, more beneficial, more whatever we may think. Sometimes the Lord does in fact want to take us back to somewhere we have been or to something we have done or to someone we have known, but there are other times He clearly wants to lead us forward to where He wants us to be next. And sometimes in these times of His leading us forward we can feel pretty desperate about wanting to turn around and go back.
If God has you in an in-between place, and is clearly leading you forward, and clearly doesn’t want you to go back, and you want to go back, maybe just a little, or maybe a whole big bunch, please don’t go back. Please keep following the Lord. Let Him lead the way. He knows what He’s doing. He always knows what’s best. Trust Him. No matter what it looks like. Or feels like. Or seems like. No matter how powerful the temptation to go back. Please don’t go back. Jesus Christ is Lord. Surrender yourself to Him. Yield yourself to Him. Submit yourself to Him. Go with Him. Be with Him. Obey Him. Don’t go back. Go with Jesus. In His name. In His strength. In His love. For His glory.