“The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:7-8)”
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, as I write these devotionals I am preparing to move to Cambodia. My husband, David, and I will be serving as field personnel (missionaries) with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Just over a year ago we accepted positions to serve alongside and support the Cambodia Baptist Union as they transition their church planting movement from new and dynamic to deep and sustainable.
This last year will go down as an entire year of transitioning from one place to another. There was coming, and there was going—and it felt like it would last “forevermore.” There were 4 (?) training trips taking us back and forth from Denver, Colorado to Decatur, Georgia. In January, we left straight from work and traveled almost 24 hours to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to see the place we had agreed to live and serve in. We traveled home to Texas three times to see family, gather partners for our ministry, and be commissioned. We came and we went and we tried to soak up life in between and in the midst of it all.
As our departure got closer, we began the true going process—including everything from the tedious task of dealing with our possessions to the painful process of parting with a community we love. We are now, as I write this, preparing for the coming—starting out fresh in a new place, learning a new language, culture and city and praying new community develops around us there. We’ve had a year of this coming, going and the awkward place right in the middle. This middle place—where you dig around in your suitcases but never unpack, where you are sending resumes out into the void, or where you are looking at a house that has grown empty, wondering what is next—can be terrifying, numbing, or some strange combination of both.
Meditating on Psalm 121 this month, sometimes called the Traveler’s Psalm, has been reassuring for me. The psalmist tells us that God watches over the coming and the going, and the implication is that there should not be fear in either one. Yet both the coming and the going, starting the new and finishing the familiar, birthing and burying are hard. This movement is unsettling.
On this Monday, as some of us come and some of us go, may we all meditate on the fact that God promises to watch over us. God watches our coming and our going—and the places in between—both now and forevermore.