When I was a kid, transitions used to excite me. I loved the adventure of moving. I loved change. I also loved playing outside games on dark summer nights. I think that’s because, as a kid, I never did any of these activities alone.
As a single adult, I hate transitions. They make me feel unsettled and insecure. I feel like I’m trying to find my way through a field after dark, and I’m all alone. A nagging question bubbles up through the surface of uncertainty: “Who is gonna take care of me?”
I’m sure I’m not alone in hating transitions and the uncertainty they bring. We all long to be taken care of, whether we are married or single. Times of uncertain transition can rattle the nerves of even a fairly self-reliant person.
I’m currently in a season of uncertainty and transition. My life in Asia was a non-stop whirlwind, full of relationships and purpose, while my life in the States has been slow, quiet and lonely. A shift in identity, a shift in focus, a shift in ministry—plus a whole lot of question marks and many unpacked boxes—combine to make for an anxiety-inspiring package. Recently, as my current job was phasing out, the uncertainty and unrootedness of my current situation threatened to choke me with fear.
Enter scary what ifs. What if I don’t find another job? What if I don’t receive direction? Who is gonna take care of me?
It was time to read through Mark 14, and I hoped God would speak to me.
I realized that I was reading about Jesus in His time of major transition. He was preparing to go to the cross. And in the midst of this transition, he had no “soul-mate” to lean on, no fixed income, no permanent address and plenty of enemies. Moreover, he had 12 clueless followers who were depending on Him. Unbeknownst to them, they too were on the brink of the most bewildering transition of their lives.
As I ruminated on the passage, several truths began to glow in unexpected places, like fireflies lighting up the corners of a dark summer night:
1) Jesus can turn any experience into a teachable moment. (v. 3-9, 12-16, 32-42)
2) Jesus can provide out of the blue when I least expect it. Even in the midst of transition. (v. 12-16)
3) When everything about Jesus’ life appeared to be spinning out of control, God the Son was still in control, and He absolutely knew what was going on. He is in control of my life, too. (v. 12-16, 18-20, 22-24, 26-30, 42)
4) Jesus was really alone in the garden. He was isolated, abandoned and in deep distress. His promises to “never leave” me are made by One Who has gone through pain, transition and sorrow alone.
5) God is doing huge things that I cannot see under the surface of the chaos. The disciples felt plunged into terror; their world fell apart. They had no idea that this was the dénouement of redemption. (v. 26-28)
I never expected to get so much encouragement from one of the saddest chapters of Jesus’ earthly experience. But there you have it. He can turn anything into a teachable moment, and He loves to take care of me in surprising ways.
As I journey through this season of transition, I want to be “on the lookout” for what He wants to teach me, for how He wants to provide. I want to remember that His promises are weighted with the empathy of His own experience. I want to believe that He is still in control. And I want to remember what a beloved teammate often told me during my years in China: “God is always doing 10,000 things which you cannot see.”
Especially in times of uncertainty.