Troubled by Change?
Remember what it was like being born? You don't recall the bright lights, the screaming? The whole process would be much nicer without the stage known as transition. It's the most intense, demanding and productive part. Hard? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. New life will not emerge without transition.
What's true during our initial entry into daylight continues as we mature: Times of transition are some of the most difficult and challenging periods of living. If we're unwilling to endure them, we'll never progress down the narrow channel that leads to maturity.
Transitions come in all shapes and sizes. They may come through the unexpected death of a spouse, a job change, moving, loss of health, unemployment, a surprise pregnancy. Life is full of situations that require us to move from one set of circumstances to something new. Sometimes it's exciting; other times it's unwelcome.
The Pause Between
Most of us don't want to go through transitions, but boy, oh, boy, do we need to change. Self-righteousness and selfishness are woven into us as deeply as our own specific DNA. Relinquishing those tendencies for more Christ-like attitudes enables us to embrace, not simply endure, uncomfortable shifts. Transitions offer us the opportunity to be transformed.
Consider the period between teenage Joseph receiving a God-given dream and actually ruling around the age of 30 not easy years. He had to outgrow the impatience and arrogance of youth. In prison, he was forced to mature through the heartache of being abandoned by family and forgotten by friends. And how about David? The gap between shepherd and king was filled with fear, desperation and constant running from Saul a process that ultimately matured David from young man to adult as he leaned on his God for deliverance. Could Joseph or David have ruled with wisdom without those intense years of transition? What they learned about the Lord during those times prepared them for the very roles God had ordained for them.
What if we viewed periods of transition as the pause between good and better, as our friend and not our enemy, as pivotal moments when our life's course can move from stagnant to fluid? Jesus said it best: "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (John 12:24).
Love Along the Way
The first time I gave birth forced me to face the pain of transition to motherhood. Back then natural childbirth was the rage and did I rage when the contractions hit back-to-back. Fed up with systematic breathing and being told to relax, I simply wanted to stop the roller coaster and get off. So when the next contraction tightened its grip, I sank into swirling panic.
Then, in that frightening place, I heard someone shout my name. I opened my eyes to see my young husband peering at me. He held my gaze, gripped my shoulders and commanded, "Breathe!" I did. Suddenly, I wasn't panicked anymore. Someone who loved me was right there to take my hand and lead me. He helped me keep my head up and showed me how to breathe. When I obeyed his voice, I found safety.
During transitions - the ones we choose and those that choose us it helps to know God Almighty promises to be with us. So take His hand, let Him take the lead, and take comfort in His promise, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you" (Isaiah 43:2).