Times of transition often cause us to feel anxious or uneasy. We wonder if we're doing the right things, if we're overlooking some important thing, and we worry about what will happen to 'life as we know it.' These times of change thrust us into that which is unknown--and the unknown can be an uncomfortable place to have to spend too much time.
Beverly and George Thompson write about this "in-between" time in their book, "Grace for the Journey." They encourage congregations to remember that transition also offers profound spiritual opportunities.
“Think about the profound spiritual opportunity that transition offers. Biblical stories remind us that the people of God are a people on a journey, often living through in-between times. When they failed to create sacred time and space, our biblical ancestors found it difficult to focus on God’s leading, God’s providing, and God’s calling them to a specific purpose in that specific moment. Just as God calls each believer into a life of love and witness, so too does God call each congregation. That call might express itself a certain way for years; but eventually the circumstances that gave rise to a particular church will change...God invites congregations to imagine how their past might influence God’s call today and into the future.”
The choices we make during this time can bring us to exciting places of transformation, allowing us to reflect on who we are and how God is calling us into mission at this particular time and place. The transition time can open for us opportunities for us to share a "vital witness."
The Thompson offer this spiritual exercise:
Read through these words slowly. Take a deep breath. Read through them again and replace "Jacob" and "Israel" with your own name. Know how dearly God loves you!
But now thus says the Lord,
who created you, O Jacob,
who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as your ransom …
Because you are precious in my sight
and honored, and I love you.
—Isaiah 43:1–4a, adapted
Excerpt From: Beverly Thompson & George B. Thompson, Jr. “Grace for the Journey.”