This summer, I packed up all my stuff in my Subaru Forester and traveled half way across the country from Tampa, Florida to Dallas, Texas. I left what I knew for the unknown. I left a community that truly loved and encouraged me every single day. The decision I was making did not make sense. Why would I leave my college community and church family to go to a city where I knew not one soul?
I moved to Dallas to attend Dallas Theological Seminary. The decision took 6 months of crying and confusion to make. I gave up a full ride to a different seminary in order to attend DTS. Why would I give up a free masters degree? Again, this decision did not make sense.
Are you currently living in a time of transition? Do you have a big decision to make? Are you deciding where to live or who to date? Are you wondering if the job you have is part of God’s plan or if you should apply elsewhere? Times of transition can be confusing and stressful.
Who are you trusting in during times of transition?
I could have trusted in the full scholarship I received, which was actually called the Gilmore Scholarship. (Fun fact about me, Gilmore Girls is my favorite show.) I could have put my trust in the name Gilmore and decided that was the reason to go to a different seminary. That would have been the easy decision to make. Instead, I choose not to trust in my own understanding.
Let’s read what scripture tells us about trusting God. Proverbs 3:1-12 (NIV):
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
How do we trust God in times of transition?
- We remember what God’s word teaches.
- We obey God and keep his commandments.
- We find peace in God.
- We choose love and faithfulness.
- We trust in God, even when we do not understand his plan.
- We submit to him our desires and plans.
- We live in awe of the Lord and run from evil.
- We fear the Lord.
- We honor God with our spending.
- We delight in God’s discipline.
Friends, transitions are scary. In the midst of the change, we may question God’s plan and wish we could gain wisdom to understand. Proverbs tells us that to find wisdom, we must first fear the LORD. The writer of Proverbs is speaking to his son and telling him to trust in God. The passage does not tell us how God will direct our paths, but it says to trust in God. Sometimes we run and look for answers to our questions in the Bible that are not there. The Bible was not written to answer all of our questions. Don’t look in the Bible for answers that aren’t there. In times of transition, the Bible does not tell us if we should move or if we should marry a specific person. The Bible tells us about our Savior. The Bible is inviting us to join God and enter into His story of redemption.
Are you in the midst of a transition and wondering, ‘What is God’s will?’ Think back to a past experience where you wondered, ‘Is this God’s will?’ We can look back and see what God did in our lives and know that was His will, but we can’t look forward and see God’s will. Are you trusting in God that His will is better than any plan you can imagine or are you trusting in yourself?
Before moving to Dallas, I feared leaving my community. One of my best friends and I were talking about how hard it will be to leave our Cru community. Then we starting talking about the examples of community found in the Bible. Imagine the community that existed between Jesus and the 12 disciples. They had three years with Jesus. They lived together, ate together, traveled together, prayed together and ministered together. What a perfect example of Christian community! Yet, often we miss a key part of this perfect Christian community. The plan was always that they would disperse. The plan was never that they would stay together forever. Jesus knew they could reach more people when they split.
I love Tampa. I love the friends I have there, the church I went to, the community I was a part of and the ministry of Cru at the University of South Florida. While in Tampa, Jesus changed my life. Jesus opened my heart and allowed me to experience His love intimately. But the plan was never for me to stay in college at USF forever. God wanted me to move to Dallas and receive ministry training.
We have to go where God leads. We have to trust in His leading and not our own understanding.
It’s hard to leave. It’s sad to leave your friends and community; imagine how scared and sad the disciples were when they went different ways. If the disciples would have stayed together, would the church have exploded? God used the disciples’ transitions for His glory and He will use your transitions for His glory.