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Transition, Growth, & the Calm Kindliness of God

October 7, 2010

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Since I’ve been hearing from people in seasons of personal transition, I thought I’d share a few of my encouraging and grounding insights on such times, as well as on the growth that can occur during transitional times.

The Hidden Process of Growth

As much as we would like it to be otherwise, we usually can’t see growth happening in the moment. It happens too slowly and the process is too hidden. And that can make it easy to feel discouraged with ourselves.

So sometimes when it feels like we’re stuck in some empty, meaningless season of transition, we might actually be growing steadily, yet unaware of it. And only later might we look back and comprehend with relief our difficult season resulted in some wonderful, yet unanticipated, transformation.

Doors and Hallways

Most of us have heard the encouraging adage, “When God closes a door, He opens another.” But in real life that new door might be a lo-o-o-o-ng way down the hall.

That long hallway experience is an especially difficult type of transition, one in which most of us are conscious only of our “between-doors” discomfort, oblivious to any shifting taking place deep inside our hearts.

It can so help to understand that transitional hallway journeys are important seasons of our life and are fodder for the Holy Spirit to work His transformation in our hearts and lives.

Practicing Our Faith

Best of all, it’s at such times we have an opportunity to practice our faith in our very good God:

  • That Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is and will continue to be calmly and kindly gentle with our hearts on this slow journey down this long hall, because that’s just how He is with us.
  • That He has some good door waiting to open for us somewhere ahead, even though we don’t have a clue what it will look like or when we will find it.
  • And that He treasures our company on this journey between doors and will never leave us alone in this dark and empty hall.

God is Not in a Hurry

It’s a difficult truth, but in God’s world things move much slower than we would choose. He just doesn’t often seem to be in much of a hurry. His sense of time is so different from ours.

Look at Jesus. The fullness of time came and Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The angels rejoiced, making glorious promises to humanity. The season had turned. The promise had arrived. All kinds of wonderful things happened which His mother Mary hid in her heart and pondered.

But wait. Jesus didn’t do a miracle or manifest His glory for thirty years. Thirty whole years. “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him” (John 2:11).

What was that thirty years about? Process. Jesus had to go through process and be made ready. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

The scriptures steadily encourage us to wait on God. “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” (Psalm 27:4). Waiting on God is about trust and hope. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is” (Jeremiah 17:7).

It truly helps us to walk at peace when we relinquish our demands for an expeditious resolution, and instead focus on journeying with God, whatever the timeline.

Transition and Beauty

Maybe God left us a clue about His ways by sometimes weaving wild, wonderful color into times of transition in the natural world – sunrise and sunset, Spring and Autumn.

If this is true of our transition times, even the most difficult of them, then maybe the real beauty is in what God does in our hearts as we wait. When we have cried out to God through our transitions, struggling to trust Him, we emerge a different person – even though we likely were not able to see the transformation taking place while in the midst of our dark journey.

May this be each of our stories at the culmination of our long transitions, “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8:5).

My Prayer

Father God, thank You for Your faithfulness to us! Teach our hearts to trust in You! Give us miraculous hope through the power of Your Holy Spirit! We claim the miracle of Your hope in us! “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). Jesus the Name!

 

Editor’s Note: This post was edited on May 13, 2017.

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Serena October 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm

As always, another insightful post, Gail. I can so relate to the impatience so many of us feel during times of transition, down that long hallway. And you are right, in that things move much more slowly in God’s world than we would like. Sometimes I feel like nudging God and asking Him, “Still with me?” Thanks for reminding us about how long it took for Jesus to transform and mature. If it took Jesus 30 years, then surely, we should be willing to wait even a few years!

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