By Peter Amsterdam
When you’re experiencing a lot of movement or a lot of change, it can give rise to uncertainty, concern, even some fear, worry, or discouragement, wondering how you are going to make it and what the future holds.
Trusting the Lord and following Him doesn’t guarantee that the changes will be easy to go through, or that the hardship or difficult emotions will pass quickly, but it does mean that you are allowing God to interact in your life and circumstances, and thus you’re putting yourself in the position where He can bring you to a new and fruitful future.
Transitioning into new situations can be a part of the Lord’s plan for getting each of us where He wants us to be, ready for what He has in store for us. As hard as it may be to accept, if the Lord is asking you to make a change, or if He’s asking someone else to make a change that affects you, it may be His way of telling you that He has something new, something better in some way for you. Your changing circumstances will bring new challenges, and thus potential for personal growth. The new situation you find yourself in may help create a vacuum for future possibilities which would not have been available had the change not occurred.
The new situation or state of affairs creates an opening for the Lord to work in your life in new ways. You may not see immediate positive effects from the new course your life or work is taking; in fact, it may not seem positive at all at the time. But when change thrusts you onto a new path, it can lead to new experience, growth, and fruitfulness which would be unattainable on the well-worn path of your past.
Embracing change puts you in a position to respond to future opportunities—opportunities that become possible because you have faith to let go and move in the way God shows you. It takes faith to change. You have to fight against fear and uncertainty. It can be very intense. But it’s worth the fight in order to discover what God has ahead for you. Remember that, while we are walking by faith, He is walking by sight! So put your hand in His and let Him guide you, step by step, into your future.
Even if it seems that things are moving slowly and might not look so promising right now, the Lord has a plan in what He’s bringing about in each of our lives. As you move into new situations, continuing to follow what the Lord puts on your heart, what He asks of you, it’s very likely that you’ll start seeing the world around you through new eyes, from different perspectives; that you’ll have a better understanding of your past, your present, and even what the future might hold for you.
If you’ve moved to a new city or country, you will likely be obliged to make friends and build new networks. You might feel lonely at times, if you’re far away from other loved ones and friends, but you might come to see that that may very well be an opportunity for you to influence the lives of others. You’ll also see ways that you will be able to learn from those you are in contact with. It will make you more relatable to those with whom you work and interact daily.
Through all the struggles you may face with change, you will be strengthened if you keep going in the direction Jesus is guiding you. It’s holding on to Him that builds your spiritual muscles.
During times of great change, it’s comforting to know that you are being watched over and cared for by our Great Shepherd, and I believe that He will engineer situations in which He plans to use you to reach others for Him, no matter what your situation or circumstances. I like to look at the future like a mystery unfolding, as a parcel of surprises that are unwrapped, one by one, at each stage of the journey, as you learn more about yourself and your potential and God’s plan for your life.
I believe that one day we will each be able to look back with happiness when we see that the small and faltering steps we’ve taken in our life journey have been transformed into a confident and steady stride. This comes with experience, and, of course, by leaning on Jesus. It comes from a praiseful, positive outlook that assures us that what the Lord has begun, He will continue to perform. (Philippians 1:6)
It’s my opinion that, with the knowledge that nothing is impossible to the Lord, and that we and Jesus together can handle anything that comes our way, we’ll be able to face every challenge with faith, grace, and optimism. Not only can our lives be transformed in many ways through the changes the Lord brings our way, but also what may now be partially dormant qualities and characteristics within us can come to life and blossom. We’re each a work in progress, and what might appear to be of little worth to us today may well be a highly valued treasure tomorrow.
There is a purpose in what each of us is going through today, significance in every opportunity the Lord is setting before us, and a reason for each change and new step we’re embarking on. It seems that the Lord encourages us to make needed changes so that we can be more effective witnesses than we have been, touching the lives of many. The Lord said that His followers are like “the salt of the earth,” (Matthew 5:13) and, in prophecy He said, “I sprinkle [you] freely across the nations that [you] may bring out the flavor of My love in all places where [you] go.” (Jesus, speaking in prophecy)
If you’re experiencing some trepidation or concern due to changes you’re in the midst of, or if you can identify with some of the things that I’ve talked about in this post, be encouraged. Embrace the changes the Lord brings into your life, knowing that He is with you and He wants to show you how to bear fruit and be a witness in every circumstance you find yourself in. If you want to please Him, if you want to be a witness to others to the best of your ability, and you want to share His love wherever you are, the Lord will guide you and answer your prayers.
You can trust in the Lord, and rest in the assurance that “Your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it,’” (Isaiah 30:21 NIV) and that voice will not fail you. That’s not optimism; that’s His promise!
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