Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders,
We all face seasons of change and movement. For my family, April of this year was one of those seasons. My brother Mark sold his house and set out to build a new one. My son Gatlin left his apartment to join his best friend from high school in a location new to both of them. Then Susan and I joined the happy throng of GCI Home Office staffers, moving 2,400 miles from Glendora, CA, to Charlotte, NC. This personal and corporate move was a big challenge to us all—and now, whether we’re at home or at work, we are faced with boxes to unpack.
During this season of change and movement, I’ve found myself asking, How is our loving God speaking to us, both personally and collectively? In pondering that question, I recalled God’s command to Abram:
Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Gen. 12:1-3)
Reading on in Genesis 12, we find that Abram, in trust, obeyed God—he and his wife Sarai pulled up stakes and moved. As they journeyed, they must have felt some of what my wife Susan and I felt during our move to North Carolina (though, unlike Abram and Sarai, we knew where we were headed). Abram and Sarai surely experienced a sense of loss, thinking about what lay behind, mixed with some fear thinking about what lay ahead. However, those feelings were likely counterbalanced by ones of hope and expectancy as they pondered the promises God had given. Through it all, God gave them both support and challenge—a combination that produced in Abram the faith that is celebrated in Hebrews chapter 11.
Abram’s faith grew as he first heard God’s word; then, trusting God to fulfill his word, obeyed. Along the way, Abram developed an intimate relationship with God like the one a beloved son has with a caring father. As a result, the Lord renamed Abram, calling him Abraham (meaning “the father of many”) , promising to raise up through him God’s chosen nation, the people of Israel.
Fulfillment of this promise to Abraham came in unexpected ways, often including seemingly crazy commands and promises from God. God commanded Abraham to pack up and leave his ancestral home to journey to an unknown location far away. God’s promise that Abraham would become the father of a great nation seemed crazy, for Abraham was 75 at the time, and his barren wife Sarah was 65 and the promise wasn’t fulfilled until Abraham turned 100 and Sarah turned 90! Then, years later, God told Abraham to take his miracle child Isaac and place him on the altar of sacrifice. As you know, Abraham obeyed, and the Lord saved Isaac. Through these events of high challenge (which included God’s high support), Abraham demonstrated that he would hold nothing back in obeying God.
In the GCI Home Office, we too have experienced support from God as we made our journey from Glendora to Charlotte. Our triune God, who always is present with us, speaking to us through his Word and Spirit, showed us his care—directing and blessing us in selling our Home Office building in Glendora and in buying our new building in Charlotte. Our Home Office staff can tell you many stories about how they too experienced God’s guiding hand in finding new homes for their families in the Charlotte area. The Lord also gave us some challenges during our move. We faced trying circumstances with contractors, building inspectors and movers. But in all the twists, turns and trials, we gave our concerns and needs over to the Lord. He is in control of us and our circumstances, even during times when we are perplexed and confused.
Whether you are in a season of change and turmoil, or in a “spacious place” of relative calm and tranquility (Ps. 18:19), know this: the Lord, who is ever faithful, is present with you. In and through your relationship with him, his faithfulness is becoming yours. It’s all about relationship and trust, and I’m grateful that, together, we have joined Abraham in a pilgrimage of the faithful.
— Greg Williams, GCI Vice President