Where do you start after taking almost five months off from blogging? The last time I posted a blog was May 7. We had been in Nebraska for a full month and were neck-deep in fundraising. Time was at a premium. Blogging was not a priority.
It’s appropriate, I think, to share my thoughts about transition and God’s faithfulness in the midst of it.
The past year for our family has been one giant transition (you can read about its origins here and here). No transition is easy. And ours doesn’t feel over yet. But isn’t transition—and the enduring nature of it—a normal part of following Jesus? In his life on earth, Jesus was always on the move. And God’s people have always been a transitional bunch. No one “arrives” spiritually and has no more need to grow. No one escapes the brokenness in and around them. We all wait for a better country, a true home. Everything here is continually in flux. You don’t even need the Bible to show that; our social media feeds prove it.
Of course, transition means something new (and often good) is gained. We rejoice in these things. New friends and experiences. New sights and sounds and memories made. Best of all, new perspectives on God and his word and new appreciation for his gifts. We’re especially grateful for transitions that appear quick and smooth. But that’s not typical or even true, if we’re honest. All transition also means something is lost. In our family’s transition, among other things, we lost physical proximity to our church family. That’s a death we grieve. You can probably think of many transitional deaths you have endured, even in the “quickest” and “smoothest” transitions you’ve experienced.
I’m convinced transition exposes our need for God and his faithfulness. We need something unchanging in the midst of dramatic change. God doesn’t need us, as if he were lacking in something. But he knows that, for us, nothing else will do. We need the unchanging I AM and our hearts won’t be satisfied until we have him.
I think that’s why Paul wrote, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Cor. 1:8-9). A ministry transition for Paul brought suffering, which felt like death to him. But there was a purpose behind this: it brought Paul and his team to a greater dependence on God who does not merely “fix” what is difficult. No, God goes further than that. He raises dead people to life. The foundation and proof of this is that God quite literally raised his own Son from the dead.
What I’m learning, stubborn as I am, is that transition is signal that God wants to do something important in my life. Transition is an opportunity to depend, to trust, to rely, to hope in the God who raises the dead. And it is God who designs these transitions for my joy so that my hope is in him, not any circumstance or situation or person or material good. He has promised that, one day, I (you!) will make the ultimate transition from death-to-life because of Jesus’ resurrection. If that’s true, and it is, we can lean into him and bank on his faithfulness in all the little transitions, the little deaths, we experience. He is enough.