Some anonymous Christian writer has penned the following words:
There is no place just as good as “THERE,” the place of God’s purpose. We try to strike bargains with the Lord, offer to do something else, seek a compromise or substitute. We work terribly hard at something that may be fine and lovely, but it is not His choice, and inwardly we are rebellious.
Let’s say that Tonya and I load up in her car one morning and head out to spend the day shopping. Let’s also say that before we leave I tell one of our sons to mow the yard while we’re gone. But the problem is that he doesn’t want to mow the yard. So, instead, he spends the day washing and waxing my car.
When I get back home, I say, “Son, I thought I told you to mow the yard.” He answers, “You did, but I just didn’t feel like mowing the yard. But didn’t I do a great job on your car?” I say, “Yes, it looks fine, you obviously worked hard. Unfortunately, we are forecast to receive heavy rain for the next five days, after which you won’t even be able to tell that my car got cleaned. The yard, on the other hand, will be a jungle by then.”
Abraham would have been content to spend his entire life in Ur, but God wanted him in Canaan (Genesis 12:1-3). Even after he started out for Canaan, he faced the temptation to settle down in Haran, which was more or less the halfway point of the journey (Genesis 11:27-32), but God wanted him in Canaan. After he arrived in Canaan, a famine struck and logic dictated that he relocate to Egypt (Genesis 12:10), but God wanted him in Canaan. You see, Canaan was Abraham’s “THERE,” and anything other than that particular land simply wasn’t God’s will for the man’s life.
Let it not be said, however, that God wants everyone to load up and relocate. Sometimes a person’s ‘THERE” is their current place of residence. For example, after Jesus had cast multiple demons out of a man from Gadara, the man literally begged Jesus to let him go with Him and His disciples wherever they were going. But Jesus said to Him, “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you” (Luke 8:39, N.K.J.V.).
To further complicate matters, sometimes God changes a person’s “THERE.” Jacob was born and raised in Canaan. His father was Isaac, and his grandfather was Abraham. Abraham had once mistakenly left Canaan, headed south to Egypt, and gotten into serious trouble with Pharaoh (Genesis 12:10-30). That incident had taught Abraham a lesson: stay in Canaan and out of Egypt. He’d surely passed that lesson down to his son Isaac, who had heard it reaffirmed by no less an authority than God Himself (Genesis 26:1-5). Isaac, in turn, had surely passed the lesson down to his sons Jacob and Esau.
All this meant that Jacob’s “THERE” for the first 130 years of his life was Canaan (Genesis 47:9). He spent those years thinking of Egypt as being a forbidden place, a place where his grandfather had gotten into trouble, a place that God had warned his father to avoid. Imagine Jacob’s shock, then, when circumstances regarding not only a famine but also his son Joseph began to line up to funnel him into leaving Canaan and relocating his entire family to Egypt.
As Jacob made the journey, he even stopped at a site called Beersheba, which was commonly thought of as Canaan’s southern border. Really, Beersheba was the jumping off point from Canaan to Egypt. Jacob (who was also called Israel) stopped there and offered sacrifices to God (Genesis 46:1). That was his way of saying, “God, I want to make certain that I’m understanding Your will correctly. You seem to be moving me to Egypt, a place You’ve always warned my family to avoid. But right now I’m still in Canaan, and it isn’t too late for me to turn this caravan back north. And that’s exactly what I’ll do if You tell me.”
And how did God respond to Jacob’s act of worship? He appeared to Him in visions in the night and made him wonderful promises concerning the blessings that He would pour out upon him in Egypt (Genesis 46:2-4). This story is Biblical proof that God sometimes changes a person’s “THERE,” and the change can even occur very late in the person’s life. For the record, Jacob spent the last seventeen years of his life in Egypt, and they were some of the best years of his life, if not the best years of it (Genesis 47:28).
As this year comes to a close and a new one begins, it would be a very good idea for you to engage in some “Beersheba” worship. What I mean is, deliberately make some time to pray to God, specifically asking Him to show you anything about your life that doesn’t line up with what He has in mind for you. Are you living in the right place? Are you working at the right job? Are you enjoying the right hobbies and pastimes? Are you in the right relationships? Are you attending the right church? Are you right with your family? Are you right with your friends? Are you right with your neighbors? Summing it all up, are you “THERE” in every little nook and cranny or your life? And if God shows you that you are missing the mark somewhere, set yourself to the task of fixing the problem so that you don’t spend all of next year continuing to miss that mark.