What happens if you live “here” but your heart is “there?”
First of all, realize it is not an original problem. Let’s look at a number of Scriptural illustrations to see why God would confine us to a piece of land that we do not love and are not called to.
1) One common reason in Scripture was for protection. You see this with David when he took his family and fled to Moab for political asylum. Christ was taken to Egypt to save his life and then placed in Nazareth for 30 years because it was a “nowhere” kind of place where He could successfully hide. As soon as His hidden years were over, He left Nazareth and went to Capernaum which was more propitious for His work.
In a little bit different application of the same principle, Elisha told the Shunammite woman to liquidate her holdings and leave the country for seven years since there was going to be a famine. She could return after that and put down roots again, but if she stayed, she would lose all her capital.
2) There are clearly timing issues. God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham but then told his descendants to leave for 400 years until the time was right for the transfer. If we were on the land we are called to, our passion would probably cause us to start working on it far before the timing of God.
3) With Israel in the wilderness, they needed to learn a lot more about sonship before they were able to go possess their inheritance. We humans tend to have an unrealistic opinion of ourselves. Either we think we are a lot less than we really are or a lot better than we are. In many cases, God will keep us in “school” on some other land for a long time until we really are ready to go to the land where our inheritance is. This can be frustrating if we think we are ready for the real assignment, but God knows otherwise.
4) Many times I think there are treasures in the land we are on, which we will need for the future. Two examples of this are David and me. David was all safe and sound in Moab when the prophet told him to go to the desert of Judea.
I believe that there are very significant spiritual dynamics to desert land. David had grown up as a shepherd and presumably was quite familiar with the spiritual dynamics of verdant land. However, to prepare his spirit for being king some day, he needed a season of receiving from the desert land to complement the treasures from his birth land.
I am in the same situation in Anaheim. It is not a city I love, but when God brought me here to this Ruler city, He said He wanted the structure of the company to grow to equal the ideology of the company, so He is using the gift of the city to do that.
5) One of the most common reasons for God putting us in a city other than where we are called, and where we want to be, is because we need to receive some social asset there. In the case of Jacob, he spent 20 years in Padan Aram while his heart was in Canaan. He went to Paddan Aram poor, alone, and alienated from his family. He returned wealthy, with a large family, and with a brother who welcomed him back.
Sometimes God has a spouse or a teammate in the city where you don’t want to be. Sometimes it is education or a job skill.
To sum it up, another flavor of reconciliation is to accept that the land we are on has purpose even though it is not THE land we are called to. We certainly don’t have to love the many pieces of interim land we experience, on the way to the beloved land, but we should accept that they have value and our placement there was Father-filtered. We can embrace the purposes of God for the land even when our heart is somewhere else in the future.
Copyright June 2011 by Arthur Burk