Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Embracing Transition

As I dropped my children off at school this morning, I started thinking about how with each new school year comes a time of transition. Parents whose youngsters started school for the first time must adjust to a new stage of independence. Recent graduates now face the reality that their time of formal training is complete. Transition can sometimes be overwhelming.  We go from what was known to what is unknown; from what is seen to what is unseen. So how do we as Christians embrace these times of adjustment in our lives?

Deuteronomy 31:8 states, "it is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed."  This verse was written in the context of transition.  The Israelites, having been redeemed from the land of Egypt, were about to enter into the Promised Land.  Though they had been under the leadership of Moses,  it was now time for them to enter into the new territory with Joshua. In his farewell address to Israel, Moses gives them a key command and encouragement on how to face what lay ahead.

The Command 

Moses admonishes the nation to be strong and courageous.  The adversaries they faced in the new land were formidable.  The temptation of discouragement and retreat was immediate. However, the Israelites were encouraged to be strong. This meant that they were to walk in faith and not be afraid of what lay before them.  The reason and means by which they were to have courage was through the promise and character of God.

The Encouragement

After exhorting the nation to stand strong through this time of transition, Moses reminds Israel that God is present with them in their circumstances and He will not fail them (Deuteronomy 31:6-8). The former leader recalls the promise God had made to the nation long ago in order to encourage Joshua to persevere .  Not only will God be with them in battle, but He Himself will walk ahead of them (Deut. 31:8).

The Translation

So how does a nation preparing for battle encourage us today?  The Israelites faced both a transition of leadership and location.  Yet, they were encouraged to stay the course even through the unknown.  No matter what change occurs in our lives, we must cling to the promise that God not only is present with us through it, but He has already gone before us and prepared the way.  Our responsibility is to trust and follow Him, despite our uncertainties.

Father, Thank You for reminding us that you go before us and are present with us in all things.  Help us to walk in faith as we encounter transitions in any areas of our lives.