Transitions

Transitions

We were hit this year with a really hot summer. I write this from my home in Michigan, but in my travels this summer and keeping up with weather reports, it appears that much of the country experienced the same. The talk of social media, friendly conversations, and the like seems to be, “I am so ready for fall!” Change sounds good. We are ready for a transition.

While this transition is certainly a welcomed one, not all of them are. In life, we seem to enjoy our patterns, consistency, and comfortability. It gives us the feeling that we have a semblance of control, whereas transition often brings unrest in all of its unknowns. Changes are difficult—having to leave the old behind, attempting to embrace the new, and learning and growing alongside it. The fact of the matter is, though, change and transition are inevitable and they are a part of this life. We experience transition in everything: in our lives, in nature, and in the world around us, from the changing of seasons to the start of a new school year for students, teachers, and professors after those glorious few months of rest. There are transitions of new marriages or new babies, a shift in the family unit or in a company, new jobs or retirement, or maybe the loss of a loved one. All of us at Concordia Center for the Family are also experiencing a time of transition. With staff members retiring and moving, many changes are ahead of us, and many unknowns rest with us each day.

Some transitions are chosen—an opportunity comes, and we are called to move ahead. Some stem from loss, and we have nothing left but to move forward. Whether positive or negative, transitions bring about unknown, which is typically paired with some degree of stress or anxiety. They stir up our patterns, our consistency, and our comfortability. They remind us that we aren’t actually in control after all.

One Thing Will Never Change

No matter the form that these transitions take, one thing will always be true: amidst them, through them, and on the other side of them, God remains constant and faithful. He promises us that, and sends His Holy Spirit to guide, guard, and direct us amidst life’s changes and inconsistencies. It is through His Word that we know Him, and through our relationship that we trust Him. He tells us in the book of Isaiah, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (30:21). He also reminds us not to be anxious about anything, “but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7). He is guiding us and taking care of us every step of the way and always listens to our prayers. We are often reminded through life’s transitions that we are not and never were in control of our circumstances—and, friends, that is a great thing! Because the One who knows all, sees all, and is working for your good IS in control!

Knowing this, we are reminded that transitions can be good! It’s often in these unknowns of life that our trust in Him is most tested. When life seems unsure—new things are beginning or old ones are ending, and we fear the unknown—do we boldly move forward in trust in Him, knowing that we are held in the strong hands of our mighty God, or do we shrink back in fear, trying to control life ourselves? Maybe each decision is different, but it is important to remember whose we are as we face those decisions. Whether we are moving across the country, beginning a new job or school year, finding ourselves between jobs without assurance of stability, navigating the ins and outs of a new marriage or a new addition to the family, or anything else we may be facing, change gives us an opportunity to trust in God. It challenges us to move boldly in faith, and to take a leap, allowing something to be accomplished that only God can do.

I will admit, I personally am a creature of habit. I often feel anxious about changes, unknowns, and transitions, and prefer to feel like I am “in control,” but I have also learned to welcome the unknowns. It’s in those that I cling to my Constant, because in those times, I have nothing else to cling to. It’s when our comfortability has been disturbed that we have the great opportunity to rest in the arms of the Father and trust He knows what’s ahead. A few lines from a poem by Sir Francis Drake brings light to these ideas. It reads,

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,

When our dreams have come true

Because we have dreamed too little,

When we arrived safely

Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,

To venture on wider seas

Where storms will show Your mastery;

Where losing sight of land,

We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back

The horizons of our hopes;

And to push into the future

In strength, courage, hope, and love.

May we look at the transitions of life as an opportunity to dare boldly in the name of Jesus. May we embrace transitions, and see them as a time to step out in faith, trusting in the One who allowed it, and created and equipped us to endure it. May we not fall in love with our lives as they are, but fall in love with the Savior who gave us life and orchestrates it at every turn. May we know God so well that we remember His consistency, trustworthiness, and faithfulness in all things. Let this be your prayer today: that God would help us to have a rock-solid faith in Him that allows us to act boldly, sharing the Gospel and His great love with others in all that we do. Change is a chance to trust Him more, and is also always a new opportunity to share the Gospel in a different way! God is faithful, His promises are always true, and that is something to be celebrated!

We are reminded in the book of Hebrews that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (13:8). What a blessing for us that, no matter what or how much is in transition, God remains our constant.

This article was originally posted at Concordia Center For the Family’s Prayer Initiative page.

Photo (c) NiseriN/iStock

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