“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24–27)
Glancing first at my candy-striped pajamas, I turned my gaze to my two-month-old lying happily on a blanket next our half-pint Christmas tree. Where is he? I grumbled inwardly. The baby needs to go down for her nap, and if he doesn’t hurry we’ll miss Christmas morning entirely!
Admittedly, my unmet expectations marked our first major holiday as parents. Though our ever-changing circumstances continually presented us with opportunities to practice, clearly our communication skills still needed work. In my husband’s defense, I failed to tell him how much tradition and routine—like that of Christmas morning—would mean to me as a mother. At the time, I don’t think I even had words to acknowledge it. But now, with another move, an additional child, and a few more pregnancies under my belt, I’m able to see that despite our very uncertain circumstances, so much of my life beats rhythmically, like the rum-pa-pum-pum of the little drummer boy’s drum.
This is all good with my Type-A self. I love everything about predictability and certainty, from the grandiose traditions that revolve around the holidays to the simple joy of an infant’s predictable napping schedule. And yet, in his kindness, God gifted this predictable gal a most unpredictable set of circumstances that often bring those rhythmic drum beats to a standstill. Despite the routine days of motherhood, my life still feels like one ginormous transition. No, I’m not just talking about our growing family, my postpartum body, or kissing my 20s goodbye. I married a U.S. Army soldier, which, as you might imagine, involves packing when we’re told, moving where we’re told, and spending time apart—you guessed it—whenever we’re told. I mention this because it represents uncertainty and transition, which I know we’ve all navigated or will navigate at some point in this life. And when we do, feelings of vulnerability and insecurity often bubble to the surface of our hearts, and we find ourselves idolizing both the past and the future while completely neglecting the present.
But I’m here to make the case that instead of neglecting one and embracing another, we should actually embrace all three in faith. In faith, we look back on what God has done; in faith, we consider what he is doing; and in faith, we look forward to the fulfillment of his promises.
In all of redemptive history, transition and change have marked the people of our unchanging God. For example, Adam and Eve were driven from the garden of Eden after they failed to obey God’s command (Gen. 3:23–24). Abram left his home country to travel to an unknown land (Gen. 12:1). Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, and after being promoted to overseer, eventually rescued his family from famine by bringing them to Egypt too (Gen. 37–46). Fast-forward to Moses, who led the Israelites out of Egyptian captivity (Ex. 14), to when Joshua took God’s people into the much-anticipated promised land (Josh. 1–3). Later, they faced a time of complete exile, in which the Israelites yearned for rescue and their coming Messiah (Jer. 52).
In the midst of such unpredictability, the people of God were encouraged to press into the beautiful reality that despite their ever-changing circumstances, God never changes (James 1:17). We know this and yet, just like the Israelites wandering in the desert, we grumble our way through our present circumstances, like I did at the foot of my Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
So, what is our hope in the midst of schedule changes, medical complications, relocations, or the death of a loved one? What would it look like to remember what God has done for his people instead of grumbling our way through the transitions we face in life? How can we go about our journeys with joy and peace in believing, abounding in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:13)?
Only God can offer us this kind of hope and rejoicing, and he has—richly—in the person of his Son Jesus (Titus 3:4–7). We can trust God because he loved the world so much he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). We can surrender our plans and the shifting seasons of our lives to him, knowing that “the eternal God is [our] dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27). Our security is not in man-made traditions, in the seasons of this life, or in our ideal present. Rather, our security rests on the Rock of Ages (Ps. 18:2).
The coming of Christ offers us an anchor for the soul and a firm foundation that our circumstances never will. Because of his finished work and certain promises, even in a state of constant transition, we can joyfully navigate the twists and turns of our journeys. We can know that we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that, regardless of our shifting seasons, is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading (1 Peter 1:3–4)!
May the reality that Jesus took on flesh to live a life we never could, died in our place, and intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father even now be the hope that we reflect upon, remember, and rejoice in—forever.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION/ APPLICATION:
How does your heart typically respond to transition and unknowns?
How does the gospel offer us hope in the midst of shifting (and perhaps disappointing) seasons?
What sort of transition are you currently experiencing? How might God be seeking to shift your gaze to what he has done, what he is doing, and what he has promised he will do? How might that shift affect your experience of this season?
Hunter Beless believes God has called her to seek after those whom he has awakened to guide them back to their Heavenly Father. She passionately exercises this God-given design through her roles as a wife, mama, and host of the Journeywomen podcast. Though they stumble often, she and her husband Brooks strive to display God's covenant-keeping love through their marriage and oneness. They have two little girls, Hadley Grace (3), Davy Kathryn (2), and a baby boy on the way. The Beless family currently resides in Fort Campbell, KY where Brooks serves in the U.S. Army. Hunter, Brooks, Hadley, and Davy love journeying through life together for the glory of God.