Thursday, December 06, 2007

fresh flowers for December 6

The Promised Land
copyright, lani wiens, 2007
a fresh flowers original

Over here in the promised land the flowers seem to be blooming less than normal. Perhaps winter has been a little harsh on the posies lately. I've been ruminating on the promised land life and wondering what it might have been like for the Israelites way back then. You would hope that once you get to the promised land you'd have it made in the shade, milk and honey everywhere, new houses that might be a little more permanent, out of the hostile desert and into some treed areas. Now that I'm in our promised land I've been making a few observations.

1. The promised land requires some elbow grease.

So here we are, fresh over the Jordan and what do we run into...Jericho. A big, walled city that we are now required to inhabit. Apparently God does not see this as a problem, but an opportunity to remind his followers that He is still in the picture and life will still require faith to live. Yes, we feel like we are currently living in the promises that God made us a long time ago. Sometimes the amount of work required to live here is staggering. But is it worth it? I'm guessing when the Israelites got to plunder Jericho they weren't complaining! We're not complaining either.

2. The promised land can be intimidating.

The giants over here in the promised land are mighty big. The good thing is that the God of David is still on the throne and a small smooth stone of obedience can bring down the biggest giant we face. We just watched Facing The Giants (an excellent movie, we highly recommend it) and were moved to tears as we watched the actors face many of the same giants we've faced in our lifetime. It brought us to the realization that we have overcome much through the hand of God. The giants will keep coming, but if we're willing to give it our all, to lay ourselves on the altar of obedience, God will fight for us. We will continue to honor Him, whether we win or lose.

3. The promised land can be lonely.

It's all new people in the promised land. In order to get here we had to cross the Jordan, while our friends came to see us off, they stayed on the other side, they have their own promised land to get to. As we put down roots and build new relationships we miss the proximity and closeness of what we had. However, God is on this side of the river as well, He will never leave us or forsake us, He will help us move in and move on.

4. The promised land can be expensive.

Back in the desert things didn't wear out. Stuff showed up just when we needed it, sometimes right outside our door. However, God is saying that particular brand of provision isn't necessary anymore. We need to begin to replace the things we came with for new things that are approriate for this land. Our eyes are being opened to how worn out and ragged some of our things are. We are so thankful for the provision that God has made in the past and for the new kind of provision He is making now. There are times where I long for the old kind of provision but I'm learning to enjoy the new kind as well, it still requires faith to believe. It's a new land and a new lesson to learn.

5. The promised land requires adjustments.

Things were pretty comfortable in the desert, or at least familiar. There's a whole new way of doing things over here. New ways of being. Things are NOT the same. You are only allowed to say, "When I lived in the desert we did..." so many times before it isn't allowed anymore. It's time to adjust to the new land, the new ways, adapt to the customs, learn the language and become part of this new country. We have applied for citizenship in this new land of promise.

So many of the things we have dreamed of are happening right before our eyes. We lived for such a long time feeling like we were just on the edge of something and suddenly we're there. The tags are still a little scratchy and we don't feel like we've quite worn things in yet, there are days we wish we were back in the land of familiar, but being in the promised land is good. Very good.

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