Don't Miss God in the Transition
By Towera Nyirenda
- "Missing God in the transition," is a statement my pastor, Bishop McBath, made in reference to the rich young ruler, as he preached on Sunday. I dwelt on that statement for a while, my mind losing focus on the preaching, as I tried to make sense of the statement. Realizing I drifted in thought, I quickly turned my attention back to the preaching, knowing that the statement made was something God was highlighting for me to address at some point.
Here I am, a few days later still stuck on the statement, "Missing God in the transition." I have had enough time to ask myself the tough question, "Have I missed God in His transitions?" The answer is yes.
Transition defined is, "The act of passing from one state or place to the next," or "an event that results in a transformation." One can be certain of this about transition. It does not allow you to stay in the same place. You can fight it all you want, but it will let you know, "I am here," and until you transition to the expected state, you and I will be miserable.
Throughout Jesus' ministry, transitioning people from one state to another was his goal, whether it be in thoughts, in deeds, in health, and in words. However, more often than not, the people missed His transitions.
Case in point, Jesus tells the rich young ruler,
"If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me." (Matthew 19:21)
The rich young ruler's response was very telling.
"But when the rich young ruler heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property." (Matthew 19:22)
He missed Jesus’ transition because the young man focused on his property, instead of what Jesus was offering.
How could this rich young ruler be grieved at the author of life when He, the author, was offering the life that the young man desired? It is easy to ask this question when we are on the outside looking in, but we are all guilty of missing God in his transitions.
Three reasons come to mind on how we miss God in the transition.
- The Picture is not clear. Most times when we approach God, we want Him to give us a clear picture of what our lives should be [Before I relocate, I need to know where I will work, how much I will make, and what my house will look like, etc.]. There is nothing wrong with this expectation, except God tells us to, "Go to a land I will show you," (Genesis 12: 1) and not a land I have shown you. "Follow me and I will make you fishers or men," (Matthew 4:19), not follow me because I have made you fishers of men. The picture becomes clearer as we follow.
- The Assignment is too daunting. It is interesting how the Gospel describes the rich young ruler. He is first rich, he is then young, and he rules. To transition him, Jesus reaches to the very core of his identity: to give it all up. Yes, he could have given it up, but would he have risked being poor and not rule (I assume his money gave him some kind of power to rule), at the expense of his reputation? The assignment to do such a thing was too daunting, hence he settled, when he was supposed to have transitioned.
- The Timing is not right. I heard Dr. Samuel Chand say, "When you are 100% sure, you are too late." We approach life with an attitude of, "It needs to feel right" before we can make that change. However, I am yet to come across a situation in my life or in the Word where the timing felt 100% right. "In His time, He makes all things beautiful," (Ecclesiastes 3:11), not our time. When those who wanted to follow Jesus needed more time to finish off personal business, Jesus had this to say, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God."
Other reasons can be given as to why we miss God in transitions: lack of trust, lack of faith, fear of the unknown, the list is endless. But is it really worth it to miss God in His transitions of our lives because of our own insecurities towards Him, not so much the situation? I believe it is worth the risk to go for it with God and not be afraid of the transitions because God's transitions always leads to transformation.
All He is asking is for us to believe Him when He says, "
I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plan to give you a hope and an expected end. " (Jeremiah 29:11)
May we not miss God in His transitions.
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Towera Nyirenda is pursuing her Doctor of Ministry at Regent University. After she graduates in 2008 she intends to minister in her native Zambia.
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