Transition: The End of Active Labor
When God comes to a life in power it should always leave us with hope and expectancy for what is to come. The prophet Isaiah likens it to a barren woman who is about to give birth. When the baby comes, everything changes! What life had known before now requires more room. Likewise, we must make room for the more God is about to bring into our lives. Transition is a vital and necessary part of this process. Some transitional seasons will be short, over in a moment’s time, while others will take years. If we can learn to discern what it is we are walking through, or better yet, pushing through, our process is likely to be more peaceable. We do not just want to survive; we want to be transformed while God is preparing us for something new.
Here are a couple of things I have learned while in transition:
1. Be content in the discomfort!
In pregnancy, transition is the end of active labor. I read once that a mother needs plenty of support since she may feel exhausted, out of control, frightened, and may even think she cannot continue! If we are unaware that we are in a place of transition, our natural tendency is to work to remove our discomfort. Discomfort can come through avenues such as finances, jobs, relationships, or you name it! Yet, it is in the discomfort of our circumstances that the Lord positions us to burst forth into something new. If we are unable to recognize this, then we are at risk of abandoning a process that has been set in motion by His perfect design. We also need to remember that God is not after our comfort, He is after contentment. The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4: 11-12, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Expositor’s Bible Commentary states, “He learned to be content with what God provided, irrespective of circumstances. It is significant that Paul had to ‘learn’ this virtue. Contentment is not natural to most of mankind.” If we are concerned only about our comfort, then we are in jeopardy of living only to satisfy our immediate needs rather than allowing the Lord to produce the godly, virtuous character necessary in order for us to steward the life He is about to entrust into our care.
2. Arrange your life based on the revelation of God, whether it makes sense to you or not!
Transition can be an incredibly confusing time, particularly near the end. The voices of others, along with our own wrong thoughts and attitudes will seek to contradict what God is revealing to us. These things will vie to take the position of God’s revelation in our lives. He alone knows the unique set of circumstances that are needed in order to produce an atmosphere for new life. Deuteronomy 8:3 tells us, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Notice this scripture says the “mouth of God” not man’s opinion. Man’s wisdom is not God’s wisdom and misapplied knowledge is not truth. If we are living only to please the voice of those around us, no matter how good it sounds or how much we want their approval, then it will be nearly impossible to obey God’s voice, especially when it does not make sense to us. Our model should always be Jesus. Luke 5:16 tells us that, “… Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” If the son of God had to withdraw to seek the will of God, how much more do we? Likewise, Proverbs 29:18 tells us, “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” It is an impossibility to discern the voice and revelation of the Holy Spirit apart from frequent times of withdrawing to be alone with him. Our job is not to have things make sense or please other people; it is to obey His revelation for our lives. The instructions we follow will determine the future we create and cultivate the atmosphere for new life to appear.
So, if you find yourself in a place of transition remember that God is about to do something new and extraordinary! Be content and hold fast to the revelation and truth of where you are in the process and resist the urge to take control. God’s word says in Isaiah 66:9a, “Do I bring to a moment of birth and not give delivery? says the Lord”. We should have no doubt that He will be faithful to bring forth what He has promised and that every opportunity we have to labor with God will involve a transitional period. Simply recognize where you are now and keep pushing forward. You can do it!
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.” Isaiah 54: 2-4