I had multiple experiences of moving around the country when I was young, due to my Dad’s job promotions… and that made me mad at first. Those experiences though, taught me a lot. For example, I learned how to make conversations with strangers, learned how to adapt to new environments, and how to handle change. This week, we’re finding gratitude in the lessons learned from difficult situations, even if the situations themselves aren’t enjoyable.
- I hated moving. The Israelites hated moving. But God had some good lessons to teach and we can have gratitude for those lessons.
Tuesday Key Verse:
- Judges 3:2 – “He did it to train the descendants of Israel, the ones who had no battle experience, in the art of war.”
- Dear Lord, I don’t always love some of the things that happen to me. But help me trust that you are teaching me important lessons, even when those things happen. Thank you for helping me see how I can be stronger, more peaceful, more kind, even when times are hard. In the name of Jesus, amen.
- What is something going on right now in your life that you don’t like, but that you can see is helping you grow as a person?
Friday Fun Fact:
- Q: How many people move every year in the United States?
- A: Almost 35 million people!
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My mom and dad asked me to come back to their bedroom for a talk and I thought I was probably in trouble for something. I wasn’t sure what, but I was already getting my answers in order just in case they weren’t happy about my latest spelling test grade, or maybe it was something I said to one of my brothers. Yeah, I thought that’s probably it. One of my brothers has probably tattled on me about something, the traitor. But instead they handed me a piece of paper and that piece of paper was on official business letter stationary. It was a letter to congratulate my dad on a big promotion, and I read through that letter thinking, okay, well congrats daddy, but what does this have to do with me? And then I saw it. Some words in that letter that were going to change everything. I’m Julie Lyles Carr and this is God on the Go where we help you make the minutes matter.
You wouldn’t think that just a few words on a business letter could make that big a difference to a girl who had just started high school in California, but boy did they, because those words in that letter announcing my dad’s work promotion, said that we would be moving all the way across the country to Washington, DC for his new job. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. We had been living in California since I was in the second grade. I kind of sort of forgot about the fact that my dad’s job could move us anywhere. After all, we hadn’t moved in a really long time, so I was really sad that night after I found out that I would be moving, and after each of my brothers had had the same talk with my mom and dad. They were sad too. Sure, we were proud of my dad, but we hated leaving our friends and our house and our church group.
It was really hard. Well, a few months later we moved to Washington DC and can I tell you something funny? I didn’t want to like it. I didn’t want to like our new house, our new neighborhood, my new school, my new youth group, but I did and it kind of made me mad. After all. I’d been so sad to leave California and I felt kind of guilty for liking our new life. I made friends really fast and good friends. I loved living close to all the museums and historic sites in Washington DC. We got settled there really fast. But then guess what happened? After we lived there a year, my dad got another promotion and we had to move again, to Utah, right before my senior year. Now you would think that there could have been room in my heart since I’d just gone through it to know that I could be both sad about leaving, and excited for the new things I was going to experience.
But nope, I was even angrier about this new move, and can I just be real with you? I let it kind of ruin my senior year. Check this out. Almost 35 million people in the United States move every year. Can you believe that? I mean, that is a lot of moving boxes and moving trucks and starting over, and I still don’t like moving. But here’s what’s funny… There are some amazing lessons that I learned from moving around. I learned how to start a conversation with people I hadn’t met yet. I’ve learned how to quickly learn my way around a new city. I’ve learned how to pack and unpack my stuff really fast. I’ve learned the things that help me feel more at home, even when I’m in a new place. And I’ve learned how to be able to handle change even though I don’t always like it.
It’s taken a lot of years, but I finally learned to have gratitude for the lessons I learned through making those moves across the country. Gratitude doesn’t always mean you have to be happy about something. Sometimes gratitude is simply seeing that you’ve learned some pretty amazing things in the middle of some yucky situations. In the Old Testament in the Bible, there is a group of people, the Israelites, and they find out they’re going to have to move. Now, they had always wanted to move. They were living as slaves in Egypt and they had prayed for a long time that God would let them leave Egypt and would give them their own land. But once God answered that prayer and they were hiking all the way to their new home, they got more focused on what was hard about their move, than about what was good. They complained they wanted to go back to Egypt.
Once they got to their new home, they found out there were enemies in the land who didn’t want them there. But guess what? It says in the Book of Judges chapter three, verse two, that God left enemies around the Israelites for a reason. It says he did it to train the descendants of Israel, the ones who had no battle experience in the art of war. God was teaching them even through hard times, a really important lesson, which was how to fight and protect their families. I’m sure it didn’t feel too fun to have to deal with their enemies, but over time they had gratitude for the lesson. Now, I bet you’re smarter than I am and it won’t take you as long to learn the lessons God has for you and to be grateful for it. It took me a long time to see what God was up to by having me move around so much, but now I can see that he was teaching me all kinds of things about change and making friends, and that he was always with me even when things around me seemed really unsettled.
After you listen today, share with each other something that maybe hasn’t been all that fun lately, but what you are learning from it. Sometimes we don’t have to be grateful for what’s going on, especially when it’s hard or it’s not what we want, but we can be grateful that God is teaching us important things right in the middle of it, lessons that will last us a lifetime. That is gratitude for the lesson.
If you haven’t already done it, be sure and go text GO, that’s the word: GO to 89419 and I’ll send you great resources like memory verses and questions and fun facts, and it’s just so great to be able to connect with you in that way. God on the Go is sponsored by George Fox University, where each student will be known personally, academically and spiritually. I’ll see you next week.