Originally published 6/18/19
There are moments when we go through major transitions. Transitions may be traumatic and often are dramatic. The Bible is filled with major transitions and God speaks to us through moments. Joshua 1:9; Jeremiah 29:11; Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; and Proverbs 3:5-6 are key verses for the Hebrew nation when they faced major transitions in their lives.
The weekend of June 8-9, was a major transition personally and for The Light Christian Fellowship. On Saturday, we celebrated the memorial service of my father-in-law, George Mizuno. On Sunday, The Light Christian Fellowship said goodbye to Alvarado Elementary school which has been home for our Sunday morning services for the past 12 years.
Nine years ago, my father moved from his home of 60 years to a Senior living facility and one week later, The Light Christian Fellowship left the denomination and our church became independent, two major transition. A few months later, my father passed away. Nine years ago, I posted an article called “Dad and Denomination: Leaving our home” which was widely read.
The ways of God have a way of repeating themselves, loss of a father and major transition for the church.
Facing the Fear of the Unknown, Joshua 1
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
The Hebrews are preparing to cross the Jordan River and walk into an unknown territory. Major transitions are often walking into unknown territory. Fear of the unknown is a stronghold of the enemy.
If we look at our past, we can focus like the Hebrews on the negative aspects of slavery and wilderness wandering. God declares that our past will not define us. God is speaking more than a word of encouragement, He is speaking a commandment to “be strong and courageous.” Strong and courageous is something we are, and fear is something we “do.”
Facing the Fear of Disappointment, Jeremiah 29
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
God speaks to the Hebrews as they prepare to return to the land of their grandfathers. They have been living in exile for 70 years, and this generation has never seen Israel. Jeremiah 29 is not a promise that everything will be filled with only success, pain free, and clear sailing. God’s promises that He will be with you in hardships, oppposition, pain, and disappointments.
Accepting the Seasons of Life, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
Sometimes, I want to be in season of build when God has me in a season of tear down. Acceptance of that particular season is the first step in moving to the next season. As we learn the principles of Joshua 1 and Jeremiah 29, God can help us transition from one season to the next season. Regardless of the season, we are called to “be strong and courageous” in all seasons.
A New Understanding of Faith, Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Is God directing my path, when I have no idea where I am going? The simple answer is that not knowing seems to be a prerequisite to God’s direction. Trying to gather all information before you make a decision, is often counterproductive to moving in God’s purposes. If you know everything, then you probably really don’t know the plans of God. As I acknowledge, confess and accept my lack of understanding, I start to move in faith in God. Often in hindsight, I understand the plans of God.
I want to thank our small group prayer meeting on June 13, 2019 in helping explore deeper insights into these scriptures and give more understanding to this article.