Starting a new life in Australia involves many steps. It exhausts me to think of how we got to this phase in our journey; now that we are here, a whole new to-do list has evolved and we will spend the next six weeks or so establishing ourselves in our new home country. Retrieving our Tax File Numbers (sort of like a Social Security #), signing up for Medicare (government health care), getting mobile phones, buying a car and looking for a house to rent are all priorities. There’s the refrigerator, washer/dryer, vacuum and TV to buy. Acquiring drivers licenses and finding a school for Brett are necessary too.
As we make this transition, we have to prove ourselves left, right and center. In the Telstra shop yesterday, we didn’t even qualify for a plan to get iPhones. We must be in the country six months before we may have an account. Same story in the drivers license arena. I can at least drive on my American license until I’m here for that length of time.
With no employer, no credit history, no real estate purchase or rental references, no occupation that is even listed in the database (pastor wasn’t on the drop down menu), it seems difficult to get started! The fact that we have spotless credit in America, credit cards, and cars in my name for almost twenty years doesn’t matter here. Our past income or faithfulness to pay our bills on time doesn’t transfer to Australia.
Some of us treat our decision to walk with God as though there’s a lengthy process to prove ourselves. Perhaps we think we have to strive in order to get his attention. Show that we are “good enough.” I felt this way for years: If I messed up and sinned, God loved me less. If I did all the right things, made good choices, and held my “image” together, then my worth to God was more. I was always striving to please earthly people in my church and workplace. I felt I needed to prove I could be entrusted with more all the while spinning my wheels and feeling like I was in trouble when I wasn’t perfect.
Thankfully, our God already paid the price for our salvation and worth on the cross when Jesus died for us. God loved us before we were even in our mother’s womb. Psalm 139 says God’s thoughts towards us are precious and outnumber the grains of sand. The Message translation in Romans 12 says, “embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” We are to present ourselves to him as living sacrifices which is holy and acceptable to God. We didn’t make ourselves holy. We are to come as we are and let God transform us into who he has called us to be.
God isn’t calculating our every move like a credit report. If we come to him late in life, he isn’t saying, “You missed the window of opportunity to join.” God isn’t checking a database of our works and choosing whether to accept us based on how many good deeds we may or may not have done. Our Lord doesn’t check references. He doesn’t have a waiting period for our salvation to lie in limbo. You don’t have to clean yourself up before you claim your eternal inheritance. You don’t have to stop being angry or afraid to acquire his accolades. We aren’t positioned according to our purity or loved according to our legacy. Our parents can’t vouch for us. Our personality can’t perform for him.
He knows us already. He acquired us before we even knew. He loves us unconditionally. He is proud of us and ready to promote without proof. Our God loves us because of who he is, perfect and pure. We can’t earn our place our outrun his arms. We can sign up without a contract. We are embraced without a co-signer. God wants us to step into his family with no joining fees. He wants a relationship with us and there isn’t a line of more important people ahead of us.
As Greg and I walk out our journey here to start our new life, I know I have a heavenly advocate who will help every earthly detail fall into place. Just as he allowed us to get this far, we know he is going before us to allow all of the details to get worked out. So in the words of my fellow Aussies, my attitude toward it all is, “No worries, Mate!”