This blog is based on episode 119 of the Christian Travelers' Network podcast. You can listen to the full episode at www.christiantravelers.net/podcast or on your favorite podcast platform.
Discovering Your Calling to Travel: A Faithful Journey
Today, we're diving into the intriguing topic of discerning if God's calling you to travel. I'm Sarah, and I have a background in theology, coupled with a love for travel. Having visited 9 different countries and worshipped in 4 different congregations, I aim to merge my passions in a way that encourages faith-driven journeys. Whether you're passionate about both travel and faith or simply curious about how God intertwines with our adventures, you've landed in the right place.
Is God Calling You to Travel?
Let's face it - many of us who adore traveling have dreamed of hitting the road full-time. We meticulously plan budgets, brainstorm various scenarios, and yearn to explore the world indefinitely. But amidst these dreams, a common question lingers: Is this what God truly wants for our lives? How should we respond to His call, whether it's to embark on a life of travel or to remain rooted in the familiar? Today, we'll delve into a biblical narrative featuring Isaac and Rebecca. This tale will shed light on how numerous individuals embraced God's calling, even when the journey ahead was fraught with uncertainty. I'll also share some personal insights along the way.
A Glimpse into My Journey: Let me share a bit of my personal journey. I graduated with a strong desire to travel the world for a year. As you may have already discovered, there are Christian organizations that facilitate such adventures. World Race is one prominent example. While I researched these opportunities, I encountered both positive and negative reviews. However, the price tag for these experiences often exceeded my comfort zone. Of course, many individuals have been blessed with abundant resources to fund such missions, but I didn't feel that this was my calling.
Exploring Other Paths: I delved into alternatives and discovered platforms like workaway.info. These platforms enable travelers to work at organizations for four hours a day and spend the rest of their time exploring the surrounding area. This idea fascinated me, and I was on the verge of choosing this path for my year of travel. However, God had a different plan. He blessed me with an incredible boyfriend, now my husband. We decided that nurturing our relationship in person was more suitable for that season. Yet, my passion for full-time travel remains alive. My husband, while not sharing the same wanderlust, showed me the joy of creating a welcoming home, embracing hospitality, and finding beauty in staying rooted in a place.
THE QUESTION: My current season doesn't align with full-time travel. There are several reasons for this, but it prompts the question: What is God calling you to right now? Are you feeling that gentle nudge to embark on a journey? Or is He saying, "Keep dreaming, but not now?" Perhaps you're not entirely certain about His message. If any of these questions resonate with you, you're not far from a story I'm about to unravel.
Unpacking a Biblical Narrative: Genesis 24: I encourage you to open your Bibles to Genesis 24. Dive into this chapter, read it in its entirety, and explore its profound insights. I'll provide a summary and focus on key elements relevant to travel and the question we're pondering. Spending time with God's Word is essential in seeking His guidance. Building a relationship with God through daily devotion will allow you to hear Him more clearly. In His Word, you may find the answers you seek, whether it's your time to travel or not.
The Story of Isaac and Rebecca: Now, let's immerse ourselves in the story of Isaac and Rebecca. To set the stage, remember the story of Sarah and Abraham. Sarah miraculously conceived a child in her old age, bringing joy to her and Abraham. They had one precious son. However, as Abraham grew older, he couldn't embark on certain journeys. In this regard, my fear emerges. I'm apprehensive about the possibility of missing out on traveling as I age. Many people wait until retirement to embark on grand adventures. For me, that notion is daunting. I'm worried I'll miss out on remarkable opportunities to explore the world when I'm older and healthier.
Abraham's Servant: A Journey of Faith: In this context, we encounter Abraham, who is unable to travel due to his advanced age. He's unable to find a wife for his son. He entrusts this mission to his elder servant, a faithful and productive figure who signifies strength and reliability. Abraham sets a condition - his son's wife must not be from the Canaanites, who held pagan beliefs. Instead, the servant is instructed to return to the land of Abraham's ancestors. This condition aligns with God's covenant with Abraham. Abraham's servant is reassured that an angel will guide his way, ensuring that he finds the right woman.
Prayer by the Well: The servant embarks on his journey, and when he arrives, he rests by a well. He utters a heartfelt prayer, a key moment in this narrative. In his prayer, he implores the Lord to show steadfast love to Abraham and guide him in finding the right woman. He prays for a specific sign - he will ask a woman for water, and if she willingly offers him a drink and waters his camels as well, she will be the one. Remarkably, before he finishes his prayer, a woman named Rebecca approaches the well and fulfills the precise sign he prayed for. She quenches his thirst and goes above and beyond, watering his camels as well.
A Divine Encounter: Rebecca's kindness and willingness align perfectly with the servant's prayer. Intrigued by this, the servant inquires about her family. It turns out that she is related to Abraham. In a twist of fate, Rebecca's father is Abraham's brother. In this era, marrying within one's own family was acceptable and not yet prohibited. The servant rewards Rebecca with bracelets, necklaces, and a nose ring before she hurries home to share her encounter with her family. Her brother Laban quickly arrives, and they welcome the servant into their home. They intend to provide him with a meal, but the servant remains steadfast in his mission.
The Mission Unveiled: He shares the entire story of his journey and mission. He retells the significance of the well and the sign he had asked for in his prayer. Most importantly, he asks if they will permit Rebecca to marry Isaac. With their consent, he pauses to give thanks to the Lord. Just as he began his journey with prayer, he ends it with gratitude to God. The meal is shared, and the next morning, Rebecca's family wishes to delay her departure. They propose ten more days with them, but the servant is resolute. He pleads not to delay him as he has a divine mission to accomplish. In the end, they turn to Rebecca for her decision, and she consents to accompany the servant.
Reuniting with Isaac: Upon their return to the land of Abraham, Isaac is found meditating in the field. Looking up, he sees Rebecca approaching with the servant. They meet, and the servant recounts the incredible journey and how he found a wife for Isaac. The marriage is consummated, and they move forward into this new chapter of their lives together.
What Can We Learn from This Story? The story of Isaac and Rebecca provides insights and principles that can guide us in deciphering if we are called to travel:
Time in God's Word: Are you regularly immersing yourself in the Scriptures, building a strong relationship with God as the servant did?
Affirmation from Others: The servant received explicit instructions from Abraham, and Rebecca's family validated her decision. Seek affirmation and guidance from the people around you.
Alignment with Scripture: Ensure that your desires align with the teachings of Scripture. Travel should not be for selfish gain or to escape responsibilities.
A Reminder: While this may not be the most direct story to provide a clear-cut answer, it offers a starting point. It is essential to maintain a dialogue with God, nurture your relationship with Him, and find affirmation from your community. If your calling aligns with biblical principles, it is more likely that your journey is in line with God's plan.
Thank you for joining me today as we explored the question of how to know if you are called to travel. If you aspire to travel, connect with fellow Christians, and engage in biblical discussions while exploring the world, head over to our website, Christian Travelers Network.
A Final Thought: As you ponder your unique journey and calling, remember that traveling is more than just exploring the world; it's also about discovering yourself and your connection with God. Feel free to reach out with your thoughts and ideas for upcoming episodes. Until next time, may your travels be safe, and may God's blessings be with you.
Please note, this content has been enhanced and formatted with the assistance of artificial intelligence.