A friend I admired for years recently went through a relocation that didn’t turn out well for his marriage. He moved to take a higher paying job. With more money and an unwillingness to immediately find a church family and connections with other men, his marriage imploded. When I heard the story, It reminded me of how important transitions are. If we aren’t prepared for a change and all it’s moving parts, we could be tripped up and the cost could be devastating.
In Joshua 1, we observe a narrative where God is imploring the leader of Israel, Joshua. God’s message: Courage. He comes back around three times to the idea of courage, faithfulness and promise.
Transitions are universal and constant. If you are breathing, you are in transition. I want to share with you three important aspects of transition that all of us need to incorporate in our lives.
- Transitions shape our character.
If you want to know the true character of a man or woman, watch that person during transition. It shows up big time, my friend. Martin Luther King Jr. said it, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
- Our posture during transition must be active not passive.
Although it’s hard to think about, my sons and daughter aren’t always going to be living in our home. God willing, all three of them will grow up and leave to write their own story. Until that time, every member of our family will have to walk through a number of weighty transitions. It’s just the way life works. I know as a father each transition will be my opportunity to be proactive. I’ll need to model my faith. I must say important things and have the character and self-discipline to avoid rash moments where I say things that could harm them. My passivity would do them little good. My courage as a parent will be invaluable to them. Sure it’s scary. But like Joshua, you and I are called to be courageous, to rise up and to walk forward through every transition.
- Our guide through transition must be God’s Word.
Consider verse 8:
This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite[c] it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.
If we are immersed in the Word of God and do what it says, we will prosper. What an amazing promise. If we stray from God’s word during transition, we’ll leave ourselves open to traps and strategies designed for our failure.
One parting thought: As our nation goes through transition, the church has an opportunity to be a force of infinite good. We can help unite what Time Magazine has called “The Divided States of America.” This can only happen if our character is strong, our courage is secure, our churches are active and engaged, and our foundation is firmly rooted in God’s word.