When you’re not where you think you should be

Some stories are just too hard to believe. If I had not found this one on the RAC website – and even there it is qualified with the words “It is reported that” – I would not repeat it.

A Syrian truck driver allegedly (note the note of caution!!) set out in his thirty-two ton articulated lorry for Gibraltar. So he did what any sensible twenty-first century driver does when they are travelling to an unfamiliar destination, he entered “Gibraltar” into his sat nav. And set out. The story goes that sometime later he arrived in Gibraltar. The only problem was that he arrived in Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire.

It sounds like an apocryphal tale or even an urban legend to me, but it illustrates the point that sometimes we find ourselves in places we never thought we would be. Oddly enough, I have found that many Christians – many – feel exactly this way about where they are at currently in their lives and or in their walk with God. And I confess, that, on occasion, I have even felt that way myself.

I say “oddly” because it is odd. We’ve been given the Holy Spirit as our helper and guide. We have been given any number of promises that assure us of God’s presence and faithfulness, yet somehow we have this idea that we should not be where we are. Of course, I’m not saying that sometimes it is right to move on from a job or a role, or that we need change. And of course I believe in wanting to do better, be better, grow, develop and all the rest. But an all pervading feeling that we are “in the wrong place” can undermine our contentment and our faith and bizarrely, hinder the very progress that we are seeking.

Towards the end of the second chapter of Exodus, Moses found himself in a destination that seemed more like the result of a spiritual sat nav mistake than the faithfulness of God: Midian.

Midian was never part of Moses’ life plan. The Egyptian palace, perhaps. Standing in solidarity with his people when he discovered who we was, undoubtedly. But Midian. Where was Midian anyway?!

Moses’ hurried and unplanned flight to Midian might have seemed more like the product of chance than the hand of God. And it certainly wasn’t what Moses, given other circumstances, would have chosen. But God had chosen it.

And God had gone before him. He connected him to a family who would have a shaping influence on his future.The family head was Jethro or Reuel, which means friend of God. Moses would marry one of Reuel’s daughters, Zipporah.

Wherever we’re at, whether it is somewhere where we think we should be or whether it’s somewhere we would rather not be, God is with us. And God often shows His faithfulness by putting people around us who are His friends. When you’re not where you think you should be, it’s okay to pray “God get me out of here”. But it might be more productive to pray “God, put some of your friends around me so that this time can be one of real fruitfulness”.

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