Strength and Hope for Times of Transition

I stand on a cliff at the edge of a life transition. I gaze across to the other side, and know that I have to cross. But how will I get there?

My hands sweat and my stomach turns as I look over the chasm between where I am and where I am going.

I am moving in less than a week. In just a few days, all our stuff is going in a truck and being driven across several states.

This move is good. The things we know about what we are moving towards make this transition exciting.

But the things we don’t know? They are fraying my nerves.

I wonder what to do. I contemplate how to get past this gap. And as I do, I think of a movie scene.

Have you seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Indiana is on a search for the Holy Grail. Near the end of the movie, when he is close, when he finally knows where to find the grail, there is seemingly no way to get there. He stands on the edge of a cliff, with a deep, dark chasm in between him and the place he needs to go.

Eventually, Indiana decides the word “faith” means taking a step, even when you don’t know what will happen when you do. And once he moves forward, he sees. It turns out there was a path over the chasm, but it wasn’t visible until he was on it. (Want to see the clip? Check it out on YouTube.)

This is my vision of faith for these days of unknowing.

Often, I think I need to know all the details. I want to understand everything that is coming in the future, and all it will take to get there. But this is not the way life operates.

Sometimes you can’t see the path to take until you begin to move forward. Then you find your way, one step at a time.

But how do I do it? How do I find the strength to move?

Two Bible passages come to mind.

The first passage is often used to inspire people toward impossible things. But in context? It’s about contentment and daily living.

“I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me.” – Phil 4:13 (NET)

We find what we need, when we need it, through the One who gives us the strength to put one foot in front of the other.

The second passage is one that is sung more often than it is read.

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:21-23 (NIV)

This verse of hope speaks to us from the middle of laments. In the midst of unknown, surrounded by anxiety, we can call to mind God’s faithfulness, and have hope.

And so I call to mind one year ago, when I moved to this place in the midst of the same kinds of unknowns. My head swirled with the uncertainty of my role. My heart echoed with the loneliness of being in a new city with no connections. But that is not how I leave. I move from here with a contentment I did not think I would find and friends I know I will not lose.

It was here that I saw answers to prayers almost forgotten in the time that has passed since they were first raised.

God has been faithful with every step.

So as I stand on this precipice, I wring my hands while I lift them in praise. My legs buckle while I move forward with a strength that is not my own. And I pray.

God give me the strength to move into the unknown, for I know that You are faithful.

Do transitions bring you anxiety? How do you find strength and hope?

Exposed Roots

I pull hard to free the plant from its bed. I want to make sure I get all of it. Plants pull up easy. It is the roots that resist.  

I set it down and look at the roots, dangling and exposed on the concrete.

Roots are out of place on this hard ground. They are meant to be surrounded by soil, embraced by nourishment and protection.


There are times when a transfer from one bed to another is the healthiest thing for a plant. Perhaps the new bed will have more sun. Perhaps the neighbors will be more suitable. Perhaps the plant will be more visible to its gardener.


Whatever the reason for a move, if a plant is going to a new bed, there will be a transition period. When it is released from its old bed, but is not yet planted in the new.


In this time in between, a plant is at its most vulnerable. It cannot live long without the stable home of water and dirt.


I look at this plant, and know that it is me.


Precarious and exposed as I sit in transition.


I am moving next month. This is not a surprise. We knew our time was limited in this city.


But now that we have begun the process of moving, I am taken aback. Something has happened that I did not expect.


I grew roots. Deep roots in just one year.


Last year, when I looked ahead to what the move would be like, I was not afraid. I knew this place was temporary. I figured that in such a short time, I would be an easy plant to pull.


But something happened. This year. This year has been wonderful. The schedule I have kept. The church I have joined. The friends I have made. They have fed my soul and enriched my life.


So now, I find that my roots are long. They dug deep into the soil. And the transition is harder than I expected.


My roots have been pulled, and I am left feeling bare.


I know this is a good move. It will be close to many family members and friends. It will be a great job for my husband. It is a move to a good garden in which I am confident our family will flourish.


But still, the transition is difficult.


In order to say hello to something new, I have to say goodbye to something cherished.


Yet, even as I type this, I look at these roots again, and wonder.


Maybe I am not being uprooted. Maybe I am just entering a new season.


So much in life is uncertain. People move. Families grow and shrink. Jobs come and go. Seasons of feeling vulnerable are common.


But maybe it is roots that provide us the stability and nourishment to sustain those changes.


Maybe this is what Jeremiah meant. Maybe, if my roots are in the Lord, I will be able to bear the change of seasons with grace.


“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  - Jeremiah 17:7-8


This move in so many ways feels like a gift from God. Perhaps my feelings of nakedness are reminders to root myself in Him through the changes. To follow Him. To trust in Him.


And this makes me wonder again.  If my roots are in the Lord, they are not bound by location. My friendships can come with me to a new place. Our skies may be different, but our roots are by the same stream.


That is a comforting thought indeed.


What do you think? Have you ever moved? Does it feel more like uprooting or just a change of seasons?