Painting pictures of Egypt

As my time here in Basel is quickly drawing to an end, I find myself once again in this dichotomy of excitement for what's ahead and a sadness in the face of leaving behind the life that I know. Sara Groves' song "Painting Pictures of Egypt" is my constant mind companion because it describes this state of "in between" the not-yet and not-anymore so perfectly:

I don’t want to leave here
I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me either way
The places I long for the most are the places where I’ve been
They are calling after me like a long lost friend

It’s not about losing faith
It’s not about trust
It’s all about comfortable when you move so much
The place I was wasn’t perfect
But I had found a way to live
It wasn’t milk or honey
But then neither is this

I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacked
The future seems so hard
And I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I"ve learned
And those roads closed off to me
While my back was turned

The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy to discard
I was dying for some freedom
But now I hesitate to go
Caught between the promise
And the things I know

If it comes too quick I may not recognize it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?
If it comes too quick I may not appreciate it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?

Saying goodbye to a church, to a people, that I hold so dear to my heart.
To a community that God put in my life at a time when I had no idea yet how many ways there are to serve, to be blessed, to grow. Heading into an unknown future that is entirely in God's hands. I have done this twice before, once holding on to God's promises, once when I didn't know Him yet. There was a world of a difference in these two experiences. To walk into a future that you know nothing about is scary, but knowing the One Who holds that future in His hands makes it a lot less daunting.

It makes me think of Moses and the Israelites on their exodus from Egypt. Moses was leading a people of more than 600.000, by nothing else than faith. He and his people endured hardship, and persecution, and famine, yet simply because God is who He is, He showed up more than once in incredible ways. He parted the Red Sea for them when they were surrounded by the pharao's army, with no option to escape. Yet, they quickly forgot about this miracle He had performed for them and found things to complain about. Sounds very familiar. Then, when they arrived at the mountain of God, He shows up once again - this time as an audible voice! - and makes a covenant with them. The kind of covenant I joined into when Jesus showed up in my own life. So - what exactly am I worried about? The same God who parted the Red Sea for the Israelites is the God who will build that bridge between my present and my future. The God who will provide space and opportunity for the things He's been teaching me, and continues to challenge me in.
Exodus 15:11, 13
Who among the godsis like you, O LORD ?
Who is like you—
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?
In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.
18.6.08 15:11

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