Monday, October 20, 2008


September always brings a certain amount of change to our household. The kids go back to school, and I try to adjust myself to the quiet and catch up on the housework. It’s a time to re-focus my priorities, get back into a routine, and find the balance between duties and driving and making time to spend with friends. The first week or two finds me feeling a little “off kilter” as I get used to the new schedule, but eventually I settle in and it feels “normal” again.

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about transition. There are many changes going on at church, as we transition to one service. There are also people transitioning to new places, which can be a bit of an adjustment to the church as we know it. It can all be a little uncomfortable. So these changes had me mulling over the word transition.

When you’re in labor, transition is the most painful, trying time. It’s the time during labor when the quietest of women have been known to scream at their husbands, freak out a bit, or beg for pain relief. Although transition is not easy, it is a necessary part of the process, to bring a new life into the world. The pain is soon forgotten in the joy of new life.

Transition in the church can be painful as well, but it is all part of the process of God bringing newness of life to Body of Christ. Thankfully, in labor, and in life, transition is a limited block of time, not someplace we must stay. It brings about an end result that will soon have us marveling at the goodness of God.

There are certain things that can help a woman in labor during transition. One is a good coach, to breathe with her and encourage her through the painful contractions. Another thing that helps is to remember WHY she is going through this, to look ahead to the end result, a baby to love. This process changes her from a woman to a mother, and life will never be the same. And of course, the presence of God in the delivery room makes all the difference.

The scriptures give us an example of the disciples making a transition from one side of the lake to the other….

“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.
Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.
But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.” John 6:15-21

They were heading for a destination, to where they wanted to be, and weren’t making much progress. The waves had kicked up, and they were probably a little freaked out.
Then Jesus comes walking to them on the water. Don’t ask me why that scared them, maybe at first they didn’t recognize that it was Him. When He said “It is I, do not be afraid” they recognized Him and “willingly received Him into the boat”. And immediately they were at their destination.

As Christians, we can have an idea about where we want to go. We can start rowing and doing all we know to do to get there. But sometimes we don’t notice that Jesus isn’t in the boat. When the storms arise, we look around and freak out. And when Jesus comes, we don’t always recognize Him at first. Can Jesus really be out in the middle of this storm? Is Jesus really in this transition we are going through? If I’m serving Him, why all the wind and waves? What’s going on?

Yet when they received Jesus willingly into the boat, all the turmoil around them faded into the background. They had their eyes on Him, and they were immediately at their destination.

It’s not so much a location that He wants us to be at, but that He wants to be in our boat. As we journey from the old to the new, His presence is what makes all the difference. It’s not about place, it’s about peace, the Prince of Peace, dwelling with us and leading us into the new things that He has for us. Jesus had work to do on the other side of the lake, and He has work for us to do on the other side of our lake. Willingly receive Jesus into your boat, and trust in the One who calms the storms to get you through the winds of transition, and onto the solid ground of His purposes for you.

In His love,
Cheryl Musser


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