Just the words can make me cringe at times. Transition has been defined as:
- a passing from one key to another
- a sudden unprepared change
- movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject concept, etc. to another
It is that middle definition that causes me to shudder – a sudden, unprepared change. I hate that. I would so much rather routine, status quo. I want that life go as planned or probably better yet, go as I have planned. If I were to plan, I would leave out the disappointments, the rejections, the pains, the struggles, the hurts. Life would be easier.
Enter this story in Scripture. Joshua & the Israelites are at the edge of the Jordan River waiting to cross. Once they cross the Jordan, they would be entering into the Promised Land. Their Promised Land. Can we even imagine how they must have felt after 40 long years of wandering in the wilderness? They finally get their marching orders in Joshua 3:3, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord you God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions & follow it.”
There they go! When the ark of the covenant, which represented God’s Presence, moved, they moved. They were also told, “But keep a distance of about a thousand yards….” (verse 4). The New American Commentary states, “The distance was for the purpose of the people’s knowing the way they should in…..” (New American Commentary, Joshua, page 122). They were to follow Him not go before Him. He would not only lead the way, He would show them exactly how they should walk, where they should walk. Scripture also tells us something very interesting in verse 4 as to the reason for this:
“Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”
Transition. They were going through a change. They were entering a new land, facing new challenges, new people. They had never been there before.
Life is like that. I find myself in a new stage of life, a new season. It brings new challenges, new people & new opportunities. I must follow His lead & not go before Him. I must trust His leading, His Presence. Thankfully, I am told in James 1:5:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
Life does not stay routine. It does not remain status quo. It did not for the Israelites & it will not for me. I will often face uncharted circumstances. So tonight I am asking that He go before me, that He give me wisdom. I am grateful that He will give me that which I need. “Then I will know which way to go, since I have never been this way before.”