Being from a missionary family I find the topic of "place" or "why-a-person-lives-where-they-live" to be interesting. Today someone told me they lived in Raleigh, NC because of the weather. Other reasons often quoted are family or job or school.
Our humanity limits us to "place and time." We are, after all, finite creatures. "Place" is important. "Geography" is important. Geography defines language, hobbies, work, friendships, dangers, routines ...everything, really. Where I live touches every nuance of my life. For instance, how I cook and clean to where and when I eat. So it seems fundamentally important to me to know "why" I live where I live. If where I live defines so much of my life, I defiantly want to know "why" I live where I live.
I'm reading about someone in the Bible who had pretty strong feelings about "geography" and the "why" behind where he lived. Much of Abraham's story rotates around "place." The first details of Abraham's life in Genesis 12:1 are God talking to Abraham about moving to a new place:
"Leave your country, your family and your father's home for a land that I will show you.
...So Abram left, just as God said."
Abraham was 75 when this happened and it was the beginning of many moves. The next 12 chapters have him moving from place to place, all the while refining his obedience to God. Abraham lived honorably and with good reputation among many new people. I give him a lot of credit for what he did. There had to be some tough and lonely times away from his homeland. Yet he chose to do it. Why? I think for Abraham the reason was singular and uncomplicated:
God. God said. God directed. God went before.
So Abraham obeyed. Abraham worshipped. Abraham covenanted. And he knew a deeply personal relationship with God. Abraham got to experience God's faithfulness, His pleasure, His blessing, while having new adventures in geography. At the end of his life, Abraham said that his son Isaac was to stay in Canaan because "this is the land God promised." Geography was fundamental in Abraham's alignment to the heart of God.
So do we know why we live where we live? Do you and I have clarity to the "why" behind the physical, ordinary, place in which we live and move and have our being? It seems to me to be a very important thing to know.