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Call Me the Wanderer
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Wednesday, June 07, 2017
Wendy Wippel

Today’s Fun Fact: the word "go" occurs 1,358 times in the Bible. Which doesn’t mean much without the contrapositive: the word "stay" appears only 53 times. And in half of the first eight--(which is as far as I checked) -- the word “stay” was actually used in the negative. Meaning used in statements that said, “Do not stay”.  All I can say is that in the research world, a ratio of 1358 to 53 is definitely statistically significant. And, that means that the difference should tell us something meaningful. I need meaningful, because at the moment, it’s also personal. 

I was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was big city with the feel of a small town then, and I had every intention of spending my life there.  I married a Kentucky boy, and our first apartment was in KY, but before the year was out we owned our first home.

In Cincinnati.

Two kids and seven years later, his company relocated us to set up a plant in Memphis. But it was only temporary. Just a few years, then we would be back.

We bought a house in Mississippi (15 and 100 years from Memphis—there was a sign that said that in a town square). And we hunkered down to wait for our liberation.

I mean, this wasn’t home.  Only restaurant was a ancient BBQ joint on the main drag. No movie theater. The only grocery store, a Piggly Wiggly. 

Entertainment, as far as I could tell, consisted mainly of dirt bikes and the Dairy Doodle on Friday night.   

I hated it. Hated it. Hated it. Hated it. But I just had to wait it out. And then, just a couple months before our scheduled emancipation, my husband’s company sold to new owners. Without informing the new owners that we had an escape clause.  

We were stuck. I spent a couple of days in a fetal position in bed (I wrote about this time in my life—my  Jacob moment—wrestling with God--  a while back, “Snakes and Stones”) but let’s just say that I finally matured a little in the faith. I finally decided that I could just say that God had the reigns of my life or I could actually act like I believed that. I got out of bed and began to build a life in our new home.

And a funny thing happened when I did. We found a good church and started building relationships. I met people who encouraged me in my interest in apologetics (first and foremost my pastor, leading to lots of opportunities to teach at this church and, ultimately, to writing this column now for 6 years.) Which led to opportunities to teach in many other places, including the National Press Club in Washington D.C. and even in Puerto Rico.

And all of a sudden – though it took 17 years—this was home. Our friends were here. We raised our kids here. It is where we worship. Our friends live here.

This is home.

Then, out of the blue, again, God is saying Go. And, truth be told, I don’t want to.  I like my friends. I like my three acres. I like my church. I like my pool.

I really like my pool. 

But God says Go.

He told Noah to get his family on the ark. (Genesis 7:1) He told Abraham to go to a country he would show him. (Genesis 12:1) He told Moses to go talk to Pharaoh. (Exodus 9:1)

And He tells us, as the current generation of the redeemed, to go. and make disciples of all nations. (Mathew 28:19)

And now God is telling us to go—to Michigan. Of all places.

Here’s the deal. Hernando, Mississippi. my current home town, is the absolute buckle of the Bible Belt. Most of the population claim the Savior and never miss church, and those that don’t have still heard the gospel a thousand times. And passed.

God said that we’re to be fishers of men. Maybe he’s just taking us to where the fish are biting.

I have already had some tentative offers to speak. Maybe he wants me to expand my apologetics ministry.

My parents, both in the 80’s, live 3 hours from Michigan (vs 8 hours from Mississippi). Maybe he wants me to be with them when they need me.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that, when you are on your own turf, you generally don’t feel a need to ask for directions.

You get, maybe, a little complacent?  Less likely, maybe, to ask the Lord what it is He would have you do?

J. R.R. Tolkien, who called himself heaven’s most reluctant convert when he first embraced the Lord, once wrote a poem that observed that, “All that is Gold does not glitter, and not all that wander are lost”.

The great majority of “Hobbit" fans that have that last phrase on bumper stickers probably don’t realize the spiritual depth of its implications.

From the world’s viewpoint, what glitters is what is worth chasing. But ultimately it does not satisfy. And following God, which to the world definitely seems like aimless wandering, is a failproof way to make sure you are never lost.

Soo… again I am starting to pack up the house and preparing to say goodbye to the loved ones we will have to leave behind. But with a little better attitude than before, and a real excitement to see exactly what God has prepared for us to do.

One question, however, remains unresolved. We are moving to Michigan.

What am I going to do, in Michigan, with my two dozen Buckeye sweatshirts? And Buckeye Crocs?

I guess  just remember that though;

They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: (Psalm 69:4)

The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts  in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him. (Psalm 28:7)

Please pray for a smooth and rapid transition, and clarity when making decisions, as my husband has to be in Michigan almost immediately, and I will be handling things on this end.  I appreciate it.

Trust and Obey, right?  There’s no other way!

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Prophecy by Parallel

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