Last Sunday a couple that my wife and I have grown close to announced to our youth group that they were stepping down from volunteering. The Lord is leading them into full-time ministry and they want to devote more time to praying and fasting for where this position will be. The husband spoke with great conviction and confidence about what God had revealed to them. When he handed the microphone to his wife she had to refuse it—mustering all the strength she had to fight back tears. Over 200 hundred high school students and adult volunteer staff gathered around our friends to lay hands them and pray for their transition.
As I watched them being prayed for I was drawn to the wife’s battle with tear ducts. She was winning, but not by much. This is the church she grew up in, and is now raising her own children in. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to transition from something so loved and familiar into the unknown.
From age 13 until I was 24, I did not live in the same place for longer than 18 months, and during those 11 years I moved 16 times. Some were easier than others, but the funny thing is that the most difficult ones were when God was the one asking. What’s that all about? When God asks something new of us, that is outside our comfort zone, why is it harder to respond to than when we make the decision?
Maybe it’s because we’re surrendering to something other than ourselves or our own desires. We’re doing something we don’t necessarily want to do, but we do it knowing there’s a good reason. Not many of us want to give up control. At least that’s how we perceive it—that we’re being controlled. But God never takes control. He never infringes upon our free will. He sometimes asks us to submit our free will to Him, but He won’t ask to be the Great Puppeteer and take over our decision making.
Though He loves us like a parent, He doesn’t tell us what to do like a parent might. “Pack your things and move. Why?… Because I said so.” The Lord asks us gently, with love, and honor. “Hey Adam, I’ve got something really great over here for you. And I want you to have it because I love you so much! Do you think you could gather your things and move over here for me, with me? I promise it’s for the best. But if you’re comfortable where you’re at, I won’t make you.” Dang it. Why are you so nice, Lord?
I’ve now lived in the same house for over 4 years, and had the same job a little longer than that. We even still have the car my wife purchased new off the lot 10 years ago. My life is the picture of stability. And I sense I won’t be here forever. God will kindly put His arm around my shoulder, pull me in close, and say, “Hey buddy, I’ve got something for you. But it might be a bit uncomfortable, and take some trusting. What do you think?”
How do you handle transitions when the Lord is the One moving you?