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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

 The Power and Hope of Transition
Kerrville Daily Time Article- May 11, 2012
Kathleen Maxwell (c)

Often times, the mention of the word transition is anything but settling. Times of transition are “in between” times. 
In transition you just have to hang on....
Transition is defined as the process of changing from one state or place to another. It requires leaving the place that is familiar in order to move into our future. The good news about transition is that it is evidence that something is happening. Transition is evidence that there is life and it is changing. This can be encouraging, especially when things are difficult. Who wants to stay in a hard place?
During times of difficulty, we can take comfort in transition. We have the hope that things will get better. Transition means progress is happening. 
There are several people I thought of in the Bible that encountered transition in their lives. David was one of them. Scripture tells us that he was a young boy and was tending sheep. In those days, that might look to the natural eye like wasted time. David was simply being faithful to what he was asked to do, and loving God in the process. Those days were anything but wasted as it was there that he learned about himself, his own heart, who he was and who he was called to be. I hardly call that wasted time. I love David’s honesty and transparency. He wasn’t afraid to share his heart and the struggles that were really going on. As the story of his life goes, it was those days in the field where he learned to kill a bear and lion that threatened the flock. These battles prepared him and developed his character and equipped him for his destiny. 
Between tending sheep and becoming king, there was the transition time. I think this was the time when David was chosen to be king, but others didn’t see his destiny and only saw him with natural eyes instead of how God saw him. Saul was threatened by the call on David’s life, and jealous, too. In David’s time of transition, he hid in caves and hung around a group of guys, that, let’s just say, were not palace people.
I Samuel 22: 2 describes these guys and says, “And every one who was in distress, and every one who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered themselves unto him;” (KJV)
How would you like that group to be the ones that were on your side? David saw these men as God did and saw their potential. He believed in them and saw their value. He helped them become mighty men. God often takes ordinary people, like you and me, who will walk with him and does what seems impossible. Sometimes He allows us to rub shoulders with people like David’s men to develop our character. This transition from leading a simple life of tending sheep to having your life threatened, living in a cave and hanging out with these guys couldn’t have been comfortable. The good news is David lived through the transition and became king.
David did something we should all do, especially in times of transition. In I Samuel 23:2 and 4 it says, “And David inquired of the Lord.” David talked to God about how to manage his transition. He looked to God to give him strategy to get through and to give him hope.
Transition- the in between time
My times of transition have been tough, but I haven’t had to live in a cave. I’ve encountered some dark days that I wondered if I would live through and, at times, have felt surrounded by people like David’s men. Times of transition can make you feel inadequate because you aren’t comfortable with in between time. Things are different and challenging. Times of transition can make you feel vulnerable, too. However, times of transition are transforming us and that is where our hearts need to rest.
Indonesia with a different people group
Esther is another example of someone in the Bible who went through a transition in her life. She was  an orphan and a common girl. One day, she was taken from her people, her foster father and put into a different culture. Things were uncertain for this young girl  as she was taken from life as she knew it. In her time of transition, she did something very smart. She rested. I have found I, too, need more rest in times of transition. I have learned that I need extra rest during these times as well as things that are deposits in my personal, emotional and spiritual bank account. I need extra time with the Lord just to be with him, and open my heart to him. What I mean by that is time to sit and just tell God that I love him and simply say, “I open my heart to you, Lord, and come fill me with your love.” I think too many times we miss the simplicity of just being with God in his presence. The more of his love I receive, the more secure it makes me feel. It is the best thing I have found to combat the fear of the uncertainty in transition. We can rest in his presence. God always wants to be with you and me, He loves us. I have encountered many people who think God wouldn’t want to be with them or speak to them because of their sin but this is not true. Romans 8:39 says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. What a powerful scripture. When we truly believe in God’s love for us, we can trust and rest.
Transition can make you feel like you are in a foreign land...
Times of transition can be times of growth. These times can  be painful. I guess that is why they call them growing pains. Don’t resist the pain. Step into it and embrace it. If you see someone you know and love going through a time of transition, step into their pain with them. That is what true compassion is. It is OK to miss the old when you are going through transition, but we must keep looking ahead for all the possibilities. God is too good to waste your pain. Romans 8:28 promises that he will work everything together for our good when we love him. We just have to hang on as we transverse in the waves of transition.
What kind of transition are you going through? Maybe you have recently been divorced, or your child is graduating and leaving the nest. Perhaps you have just gotten married are adjusting to married life. New jobs put us in times of transitions too, as well as losing someone we love. It could be that a long-time relationship has ended, or you have moved to a new city. These are all times of transition. Anytime there is a big change in our lives we go through transition, however, we must never miss the possibilities that are ahead and keep our eyes looking in faith.
I have certainly been asking God to change my view on transition since I have encountered many in recent years, and I believe he is doing that. In his goodness, I feel he is allowing me to see things from his perspective. There is power and hope in transition. Psalms 118:1-4 tells us that God’s love endures for us forever. Verse five says,”I called upon the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side. I will not fear.” That is a powerful promise that I have hung on to and it is for you too. Will you join me in finding the hope and possibilities in your transition? Let’s make the most of our transitions in life.
-Let me hear from you!
Kathleen Maxwell is a native of the Hill Country, educator, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can contact her at and on her blog

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