“For everything, there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven,” says the preacher in Ecclesiastes 3.
There is no other time that I have thought about transitions as I have recently. Having experienced some majors within a short period of time, I believe God has used these moments to teach me a lot. I do hope that you too can benefit from what God has been teaching me. I also do appreciate a close friend of mine who challenged me to write about the same. In our 6 teaching points, I will be using a very simple illustration of a bus on a long journey headed home.
- Transitions are inevitable.
This is a plain truth that needs not be stressed more. Life is like a bus on a long journey with so many stops headed home. Some stops are pretty obvious while others are not. You just have to be prepared that your next stop might be around the corner. And although they are inevitable, they don’t have to take us by surprise.
My recent transition was that I was going to move to the UK for a year for further studies and ministry exposure. That meant that I would be so many miles away from home, from the people I have known for a long time, and away from my own culture that I have grown up in. And with each passing day, I knew that my next bus stop was around the corner. At least I roughly knew my dates. That really helped me to plan and to maximumly make use of my remaining time. But in other cases, we never know when the next bus stop is coming. It then becomes harder to prepare and to plan. But all the same, the same principle still applies, that we have to be prepared that our next bus stop might be around the corner. And although transitions are inevitable, they shouldn’t take us by surprise.
2. Transitions can be tiring.
Imagine all the preparations you can make for a long road trip. There, you want to make sure that your trip goes on well without a hitch. Planned transitions work the same. A lot of resources are needed along the way. In my case, I saw God’s providential hand in play. I didn’t have to worry about a thing. But generally, transitions will take your time, money, and comfort. Be prepared to be stretched both financially, mentally, and emotionally.
3. You do not have to transit alone.
Because transitions are pretty tiring you need others, we all need a helping hand. You don’t realize how many people are willing to help till you ask. Proverbs 15:22 emphasizes our need for many advisers. I was helped a lot by my Church family, my family, and close friends during my preparation. Rightly put, there will always be people who have gone ahead of you. Don’t fail to recognize that God may have prepared them beforehand to help you in your time of need. And above all, we need God’s help. We can always draw near to him in prayer as our father for all our needs.
4. Transitions are good for your heart.
Transitions help us to look back. And looking back, I see many times I missed the mark. I failed to fully live for Jesus and His gospel many times. How I deceived myself to think that I had all the time in the world to do His work, and how this made me sluggard in my serving. Did I also really value my family? It’s until now that I realize that I should have spent some more time with them. Did I value my friendships? I now truly treasure the moments of our heart-to-heart talk with friends. We should have done that more! What of my Church family, did I value them enough? There are so many benefits of belonging to a Church family. Now that I am alone in a quarantine facility, I treasure the moments I had with the little children I taught in Sunday school. I truly miss our times of singing and hearing God’s word. I cannot forget the 1-2-1s with my pastor.
My point is, sometimes you never know the value of what you have until it’s taken away. And for you, why don’t you now start taking God’s work seriously. Why don’t you start valuing and treasuring the people that God has brought your way? Why don’t you visit them or invite them for lunch? They will not always be there for you. The next bus stop might be around the corner.
5. Transitions are under His control.
Sometimes transitions can feel confusing. Some of them can take us by surprise. But can we still trust God that he is good and in control? Take for example, the death of a loved one or receiving a termination letter from your boss. Blessed is the one who rests assured that God is still in control and that He cares. But just in case you’re still afraid about your life, listen to the words of Jesus.
In Matthew 6:25, he tells us not to be afraid about a thing. That we should not be anxious about our life, what to eat, what to drink or what to wear.
To his troubled disciples facing a storm in Mark 4:40, He asks “Why are you so afraid? Have you still faith?”
To a troubled ruler in Mark 5:36 who had just received sad news about his daughter, He says, “Do not fear, only believe”.
Or to a sorrowful Martha in John 11 whose brother was four days old in the grave, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me though he dies, yet shall he live and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die”. Do you believe this?”
More than one time, I was anxious about so many things. I was anxious about where the money for my visa will come from. I was anxious when my visa took a long time to be approved. I was anxious when my first flight air ticket got canceled while I was still queuing at the airport. Yes, I was afraid. And it was sinful that I was. At that moment, I failed to believe that God was in control. I failed to trust that He will always have the best choice for me. O, how I pray that I may learn to trust him more. Trust believes that God cares. Trust believes that even when my desires are not met, it is for my eternal good. Yes, trust believes that God is good.
6. The last bus stop is around the corner.
…Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, Hebrews 9:27
Life is like a bus on a long journey with so many stops headed home. Although your many life stops are important, it’s your final stop that is the most important. How are you prepared for your final stop? Are you prepared for eternity? Are you prepared to meet your maker? Are your sins forgiven? Have you received the precious gift of eternal life? If you’re not a Christian yet, what are you waiting for? Run to Christ for the forgiveness of sins when there is still time. The saddest words that anyone can dread hearing on that day is, “I never knew you; depart from me, you worker of lawlessness.” (Matt 7:23)
And if you are a Christian, the question is for you too. Are you prepared for eternity? Does your life show to the watching world that eternity is real? Let me confess that my life, my dreams, and aspirations have not always testified to the watching world that eternity is real. May the Lord help me and you to live for Jesus. John Piper in his book “Don’t Waste Your Life” is right when he says,” Tis one life, only what is done for Christ will last”.
My friend, on that final day the sweetest and most satisfying words anyone can long to hear are, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your Master.” (Matt 25:21).
Your life stops culminate on that final day. And even though other life stops were bitter or better, please don’t miss heaven. And if you’re like me, who is looking to Christ daily, that Day will not take us by surprise. Even so we pray, Come Lord Jesus!
This is a reflection written by Ephraim Kironji, who is currently serving in Oxford, UK.