Full-fledged Transitions

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Col. 1:15-17

This is God. The Author of Creation, Lord over the heavens and the earth, the One who holds all things together.

Sometimes I forget this truth about God, or this aspect of His character. I find myself wondering if just this once this new opportunity, change in plans, or unexpected event fell just outside His scope of sovereignty. I most often feel this question arise during seasons of change, when I’m in the thick of the unknown.

For the first eighteen years of my life, the most drastic changes came in the form of the natural transition from one school to the next. I had always lived in the same city, most of my memories take place in the same childhood home, my parents held the same jobs, and things mostly just stayed the same.

When I left for college, it was in my home state.  Yes, my major changed, my address annually changed, and even my friends changed, but that was all part of the natural course of life, wasn’t it? Shortly after I was married, my husband experienced an unexpected job loss, leading to an unexpected move, and suddenly nothing seemed to be the same.

I hardly knew my husband; I didn’t know anything about our new “home;” I didn’t know what finding a job, church, or even friends would look like. My heart was so deeply discouraged, and in that season I questioned the Lord’s divine plan and goodness because I didn’t look to Him.

Reminded of Moses

In times of transition, it can be so easy to get lost in the uncertainty and all the questions, because how can you move forward when you don’t know which way forward is? Moses often comes to mind when I think about seeking God in the thick of uncertainty. I can only imagine what Moses felt as he fled to Midian, after killing the Egyptian (Ex.11-15). Was Midian to become his permanent home? Was he to eventually become the sole shepherd of his father-in-law’s flock? But the Lord was at work in the life of Moses and the lives of the Israelites.

As Moses meets God at the burning bush (Ex. 3), I can’t imagine him knowing what his future held. From being the man chosen to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt (Ex. 2:10), given powerful signs to illustrate the Lord’s working (Ex. 4), making his many entreaties to Pharaoh to release God’s people (Ex. 7-13), and crossing the Red Sea (Ex. 14)—which eventually led to the wilderness years—Moses was a man continually in full-fledged transition.

I can understand Moses’ questioning as he asks of God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11). And God responds, “But I will be with you…” (Ex. 3:13, emphasis added). In all the following chapters of Exodus, through every event God brings Moses to, He is there with him.  God does not allow any circumstance or situation to fall unknowingly into Moses’ hands. He orchestrated each event, proclaiming His power, sovereignty, and glory. And Moses in turn leaned into the Lord, sought Him, trusted His Word, and shared his heart with the Lord.

Abiding with Christ

In John 15, a section of Jesus’ farewell discourse, Jesus introduces the true vine and vinedresser (God, the Father). In verse four He calls us to “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4) The ESV Study Bible note on verse four states: “abide in me means to continue in a daily, personal relationship with Jesus, characterized by trust, prayer, obedience, and joy.” When I think of Moses, I think of man who abided in the Lord. Moses trusted God, was obedient, and daily pursued his walk with the Lord. He walked with the Lord, and God worked some mighty fruit through him. Moses did not know where the Lord would lead him, but he followed even still.

We can never be sure of what the future holds, and some seasons of life will be riddled with greater, more life-changing events than others. But the hopeful reality? God is sovereign over all things, and like Moses, He is with us. When we think we cannot press on, thinking we may not be fit for the task at hand, we can lean into Jesus and the identity He has given us. When we are fearful of the unknown, we can turn our eyes to Christ, knowing we have no need to be afraid; we are following Christ. When we might not know the good that the Lord is working, we can trust in the truth of His Word, and take hold of His promise:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 
Rom. 8:28

As we each navigate our own life transitions, whether it be the beginning of the school year, the end of a job, moving to a new city, or any other circumstance, let’s fix our eyes on God. Let us explore what it looks like to abide and remain in Christ as we set our hearts and minds on the truth of His sovereign character and move forward into the unknown as sisters in Christ.

Abiding with Christ in transition

Next month, Of Larks will continue this conversation about walking with Christ through periods of transition.