2016 has been, and will continue to be, a year of shifting, transition and change. Change is never easy. Transitions can wobble the knees. But I cannot recount one great promotion or advancement the Lord has provided for me or my family without first experiencing the pain of change.
In August 2001, my wife and I sat in front of the pulpit committee of Hillside Assembly of God. I remember looking at the pages of meticulously handwritten financials (thanks Dewey Smith, draftsman extraordinaire) and commenting, “You guys know you’re bankrupt, right?” One member replied quickly, “Yes sir, and the question is, do we stay here, ‘lest we die?’” I then urgently told them, “Please do not submit me for consideration as your next pastor without understanding the ‘pain of change.’ Please understand, I’m not going to change one thing…everything will have to change…and it will all change very quickly.” Not one of the members of that pulpit committee even blinked. They smiled and said, “That’s what we need…let’s get to it!”
Not every transition can happen that smoothly and with that much favor, but the necessity of change is at the very core of growth. Embracing transition is also a powerful expression of trust. Do you trust the new leader, the new employer, the new set of circumstances? The question really boils down to, “Do you trust God?”
Abraham had to trust God’s instructions to leave the land of his childhood and go into a new land. Moses trusted God’s command to lead His people out of bondage. The children of Israel did not trust God and an entire generation missed out on seeing the Promised Land. If you don’t embrace the shift, then you’ll be relegated to sitting on the wrong side of the Jordan watching others enter the land without you.
Some transitions are welcomed: A new baby, an exciting promotion at work, a new relationship. Other shifts are less desirable: the loss of a loved one, a lay-off from your job, a friendship betrayed. But never forget God’s promise: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
It’s a matter of trust. What new ministry opportunity is God willing to open up for you if you are willing to let go of the old apprenticeship? What business opportunity is waiting for you if you’re willing to follow God away from the security of your current position? What new friendship awaits if you’ll just let go of the toxic influences of the past?
Big decisions. Don’t underestimate how much faith you will need to navigate such change. Doubts will rise. Winds will blow. But what awaits on the other side? Maybe it’s your healing. Maybe it’s your deliverance. Maybe it’s a crazy person who will be set free and lead an entire region to Christ (Mark 5:1-20).
On another note. Don’t wait too long to decided to embrace the change. God will move on to offer the opportunity to someone else if you delay. Rivers won’t be crossed quite yet. Someone else may get the promotion. It’s okay, your day will come…but what if it’s today? What if it’s now? Embrace the shift! God’s got you.