I had to laugh in church on Sunday when Paul McDill preached at the Sunnyvale campus about going and staying. There are few things in my life that I have more experience with. I’ve lived in 18 different places, in two countries and five states. We’ve lived in seven different places in Texas alone! I’ve gone, and I’ve stayed.
Moving to Japan was perhaps the biggest decision to go that we have ever made. We were talking and considering several options for our first Air Force assignment and, finally, in a deeply spiritual way, we looked at each other and said, “Why not?” There was no reason not to go, and what an adventure! To this day, I can’t tell you that it was God’s will for us to move there, but God certainly used us, and our lives were affected in such a way that I don’t know who we would be or what we would be doing if we had not just gone there, essentially on a whim.
As much as we have gone, we’ve also stayed. My husband was the superintendent of schools for a school district in suburban Lubbock, Texas. Initially, I didn’t think we’d stay in Lubbock long. We hadn’t stayed anywhere long, so why would that be any different? Early on, we had an opportunity to leave, but we had committed to stay for a certain period of time. That decision was easy. You don’t break your word and expect good things to happen, so we stayed. Some doors closed along the way, and it became very clear to us that we were home. So we put some serious money into our house, and I spent $800 on a 10-year license plate with the name of our school district on it, a gift for Dave and a symbol to us both of our decision to stay. Four months later, we got the call that ultimately led us to move to Mesquite.
I laugh as I think of how wrapped up we get in making decisions, as if God somehow ceases to be God and can’t work his will if we make the wrong choice, or as if our decisions are final. We give ourselves way too much credit! Certainly there are wrong motives to go or stay. Fear should not ever be our motivation.
for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
— 2 Timothy 1:7
Ideally, principles associated with love would guide our decisions.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
— 1 Corinthians 13:4–5
So pray, and apply these and other Scriptural principles when facing decisions, but then decide! God is unimaginably good and great. He is in Japan and Wichita Falls, believe it or not. He can and will work his will in and through the lives of those who are seeking and courageously following him, whether we go or stay.