The God of Transitions

Whether they are expected or not, transitions are never easy.  The exciting planned change of packing up one’s life to relocate to a new house, job, or college — or even the non-packing transitions like buying a new vehicle can bring joy, but they also bring stress. Then we need to add in the unplanned transitions, which are automatic stressors.

Ahab dies and his son Jehoram becomes the king of Israel. This can be labeled both as a planned (because he new he would become king evetually) and unplanned transition (because who is ever is ready for the death of a parent?) In the middle of this stress, Moab, a conquered country decides to rebel and go to war against Israel. It is just about guarenteed that, just when we are at strength’s end, the enemy shows up — and not just any enemy, but a problem that we thought we had beaten years ago. It can be anger, a secret lust, or habit that has been silent in our lives for years and suddenly it is there in front of us again. The timing of this attack is not coincidental either. The Bible talks about a day of evil that will be launched against us.

There are two solutions to this problem. Jehoram gathers with a few friendly kings and together they talk about how they are going to do to remedy the situation. I try to imagine the conversations that happened in that meeting. “You’re right we need to do something about this.”  “We need to get the people mobilized”. “Did anyone post a status change on Facebook?  It always helps my psych if I can get a couple hundred likes”. Okay, I doubt the last one happened, but I think you get the idea.

The Bible states that they wandered aimlessly for seven days and found themselves in the middle of the desert with no water.  Imagine Jehoram’s thought process. “I’m at the end of my rope. I am trying to learn how to be king, I have to fight the enemy that I thought was defeated years ago, and now matters are just getting worse. The friends I thought would help me are now fighting with me.”  Jehoram begins to blame God for his situation. The problem being, he never stopped to ask God what he should do to deal with this situation that he was facing. It is so easy to crowd God out of our lives because we have to “do something tangible.” Jehoshaphat, one of the kings with Jehoram, suggests that they seek God about their problems.

Elisha appears and gives us a clue on how to react in these impossible times. He begins to worship and quiet himself before God. The Bible tells us to rejoice in every situation.  This does not mean that we are to rejoice for every situation, but in every situation. We are to pause and see that God is far above us and he can change our circumstances at anytime He is just asking us to trust Him. Elisha comes out and tells the three armies to dig ditches because they are going to be filled with water the next morning. Seems easy enough unless you are already dying of thirst. Why would God ask more of me in this situation. Can’t a rock just spew out some water?  Trust never means figure this thing out, it just means obey what I ask of you.

God adds two incredible things to the armies. The first one is a statement about who He is. It is a small thing for me to take care of this problem. Quit wandering around trying to get your act together. Let God take care of the situation. Seek Him and find out where he wants you to dig a ditch and trust him to fill it. The next thing God does is remind them that they are going to defeat Moab. We can get distracted with so many things we forget why we are even here.  I can see God saying, “See this sin that has raised its head again? Just like the last time.  I am going to destroy it.  I am going to once again set you free from the power of this thing”

Transitions are not easy but God has promised that He is with our going out and our coming in. (Psalm 121:8) Even if we have gone out and the going in has not shown itself yet.  Stop and take time to praise the God of our transitions.

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