Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 14

Genesis 30:1-31:16; Matthew 10:1-25; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 3:13-15

How well I remember the day my husband, who was preaching through the life of Jacob, said to me, “I think the Lord has said to me, ‘Return to the land of your fathers' (Gen. 31:3)."

“Surely not,” I replied, unlike Rachel and Leah who quickly supported their husband’s plan to move them about six hundred miles to a land they had never visited. “Do whatever God has told you,” they said to their husband in Gen. 31:16b.  I was, hmmm, less supportive.

My husband replied, “It seems the face of our employers has turned against me, and as I studied this passage in Genesis, I sensed the Lord saying the same thing to me that He said to Jacob. Our parents are old. I believe we should return to the place where we met and married, and see them into their graves. And I believe God has meaningful employment for me there.”

The Lord confirmed His word to my husband by providing a teaching job for him at Talbot School of Theology, a job where he has taught hundreds of students and encouraged them to follow God and where he has flourished. His flocks have increased and “the man grew exceedingly prosperous” (Gen. 30:43). We now have 18 grandchildren, most of whom live within a 30 mile radius. And my husband and I have had a long and prosperous ministry.

We did see our parents into their graves. They lived into their 80’s and 90’s and one by one, they left us and entered into the presence of Jesus. My sister said, “I’m glad you came back. I couldn’t have done it by myself.”

My journey of following my husband was not as easy as Rachel and Leah’s seemed to be—I tried to reason my husband out of his decision. “We’ve built this beautiful home on an 800 acre greenbelt.  Our sons are in college and graduate school here and they probably won’t move with us, though our daughters will because they are younger. I’m sure you can fix what is wrong at the church.”

Eventually, however, I said, “I will go where you go. You’re the head of this house and I’ll follow your leadership, though I probably won’t do it very well.” And I didn’t do it very well—there were some days when I cried, other days when I saw nothing ahead for me (though I knew it was going to be good for my husband).

Now, over twenty years later, I look back to that day when my husband heard God’s voice. And with all my heart, I thank God for speaking to my husband, for moving us back to California. He has constantly blessed us here.  Our daughters had the opportunity to go to Biola University with a faculty discount, two of our children went to Talbot, and I went to seminary, too. God used my education to open a door for me to serve for over a decade in women’s ministries at a large church. Our daughters found their godly husbands here and established their families.

The proverb says, “Blessed is the man finds wisdom, who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better return than gold” (Prov. 3:13-14).

The Scriptures are written for our understanding. They are written for our profit. We are to search them and sit under them—they instruct us; we do not instruct them. We are to listen as we read, test what we think we hear, and then follow what God is saying. He is committed to leading us in the way of wisdom with all its resulting joys. 

Even when it means a re-location.

- Nell Sunukjian

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  1. Thank you for this tangible example and reminder of what it means to follow God through life's relocations and transitions.