Posted by Frances Phipps Category: Updates Tag: , ,

Spring has sprung in central California. The birds are chirping and busily working to set up nests for their eggs. Stick by stick, interwoven with spiders web for glue, these nests are masterpieces in the making. 

As I type this blog post, I am watching my “nest” be deconstructed by jovial and hard working movers. In preparation for the movers, I have spent the last month slowly taking apart the home which took me two years to put in order just the way I wanted it. Now the final blow is being dealt as each box and piece of furniture is getting loaded onto a moving truck. It’s destination…storage. 

A hummingbird nest and egg in the fake tree on Kari’s porch!

As a result, I have been considering the children of Israel and their wanderings in the wilderness for 40 years. I have reflected on the passage in Exodus 40:36-38 in a different way than in the past.

Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

Although I know this historical account well, I have never stopped to consider its practical implications. One day the Israelites are doing life and the next they are moving on without any forewarning. They have no knowledge of where they are going and when they will be stopping next. 

They must have had their daily job, their home to care for, their family to cook for and clean up after. Just when that special vase was moved into the perfect spot, it is time to pick up and move again because the cloud had lifted. They had to pack it all up into storage for transport and keep moving until the cloud of the Lord stopped once again.

I have wondered: 

  • How did they know what to keep at the top of the pile of stuff so it is easily accessible? 
  • How did they know what would be needed on that leg of the journey? 
  • How did they know what clothes would be needed in the days to come? In reality, they had no idea how long they would be traveling and what the weather would be at the next stop. 

These sorts of questions have all been a part of my mental process and planning for this move into the unknown which we are making. We will be moving into a hotel and then a short term rental. After that, who knows.  

With most of our earthly possessions going into storage, I have been asking God for wisdom, moment by moment, as I have thought through all sorts of possible scenarios. A familiar passage from the book of James has brought such peace to my soul.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 1:5

Situations, such as our move into the unknown, necessitate wisdom. They also seem to foster a greater dependance upon the Lord. I believe this is by God’s design. I am memorizing Psalm 139 and often find myself praying it back to God throughout the course of the day…

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 

You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.

You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. 

For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 

You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.

Psalm 139:1-6

As a woman who is fearfully and wonderfully made by God (verse 14 of Psalm 139), my desire is to nest; to make a lovely home in which my family, friends and strangers can come and enjoy the blessings of God. Whether through providing shelter, a home cooked meal or a cup of coffee and a good conversation…all of these rich blessings come from the hand of my Heavenly Father. As I partake of His work in dispensing His common grace and gospel to others, I have the privilege of using my time, talent and treasure for His glory.

Yes, my husband and I are leaving one town and on a journey to the next. Like Israel, we don’t know where the Lord will have us stop next, how long it will take to get there or how long we will be stationed at the next stop along our earthly journey. But we know God’s character. He will provide everything needed along the way. He will give wisdom in abundance and without reproach as we ask. I have full assurance of the truth found in verse 16 of Psalm 139…

Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed.

And in Your book they all were written,

The days fashioned for me,

When as yet there were none of them.