Note: This is the second of a two-part article. For part one, click here.
Preparing for change is an exercise in trusting God. After hearing God whisper to me about change, I determined to embrace it, and I started to prepare. I took on a posture of surrender. I began to praise God and rejoice for the new things coming. I agreed with the good words I heard about change so my attitude would be right. I kept my eyes pealed for open doors.
Even though I did not have specific details, I prayed for God to make the rough places smooth and the crooked places straight. The day I was laid off I had confidence the road before me was prepared in advance.
Jesus is a good example of preparing for change. Although He spent time in the Father's presence daily, Jesus took extra time to personally prepare for key transitions in His life.
Before He began public ministry, Jesus fasted 40 days and nights engaging in spiritual warfare so He could walk victorious in the days ahead. As His crucifixion drew near Jesus prepared both Himself and His disciples for what was coming. The Transfiguration and His travail in the Garden of Gethsemane both were times of spiritual preparation for His death, resurrection and ascension.
Waiting For Change
This can sometimes be the most difficult part of the process. But even in the waiting, we must trust. Once I knew change was coming, I was eager to get moving. It is good God didn't give me all the details—I may have tried to forge ahead. But God's timing was not right yet.
Between Jesus' resurrection and ascension, He told the disciples many things. They were to go and make disciples of all nations, drive out demons, speak in new tongues, heal the sick and many other amazing things (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18). But first they had to wait. They knew what to do, they had experience in healing and deliverance, they had great faith (now that they had seen Jesus alive); but they had to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5).
God could have given them the Holy Spirit as Jesus ascended into heaven. God, however, waited until Jews from all over the world gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost so the impact would be greater!
C-Day (Change Day)
Here is where the rubber meets the road. That is when our trust is tried. Do we really trust Him when our world changes?
Thankfully, on the occasion of my layoff, I did! Change day was a day of liberation. Not because I was in a bad place and wanted out. I had been in a fantastic place of provision, life and ministry. The change was liberating because God had birthed something new in my heart, and I needed a new place to grow. When I embraced God's word of change, He began reshaping me for the new thing.
A caterpillar is satisfied and cozy in its cocoon until it is time to spread its wings and fly. Then all of a sudden, the cocoon is encumbering. If the cocoon is broken open too soon, the butterfly will not have the strength to make it. But on the right day, at the right time, the cocoon must come off or the butterfly will die.
Abram probably felt a mix of emotions the day he left Ur, but His trust in God was greater than the emotions. So, God prospered him, made nations from him and counted his faith as righteousness. When God told Noah to get in the ark, Noah's trust overcame the ridicules he had endured. He ushered his family into the ark and into God's salvation, allowing them to rebuild and repopulate the earth.
When God changed Joseph from a prisoner to a prince, it was an amazing day—real liberation! Joseph's trust in God allowed him to get over any bitterness of the past so he could save his family and bless the nations through his God-given wisdom.
When C-day comes, determine that your trust in God will be greater than any emotion, scoffer's advice or memory so God can do exceedingly, abundantly above all you could think or imagine.
Passing From Old to New
This takes trust too! The level of peace one has through the passage is a key indicator of one's trust level. No two situations are exactly alike, but God is the same. He is big enough, strong enough, wise enough, just enough and loving enough to work good no matter what the circumstances.
Fijian Pastor Suliasi Kurolo says "a loser man focuses on what he is going through. A winner man focuses on where he is going to." Satan will do anything to keep us from where God wants us. So, it is imperative to keep our eyes on Jesus, not settling for less than God's best, and we are sure to win.
Within a few days of my lay off, I had several offers to consider. All of them were appealing in one way or another. One was at another ministry with all the stability of my former position. It would have been easy to jump at that opportunity for security's sake. But God wanted me to walk a different road.
Instead of fretting, I held on to the promises God had given me and allowed Him to be in control. His peace that passes all understanding guarded my heart and mind as I stayed fixed on Jesus. Eventually He directed me to a new ministry. I had an excitement and confidence that confirmed to me it was from God.
The Israelites rejoiced as they left Egypt, headed for the promised land. But as soon as they faced their first challenge at the Red Sea, many wanted to go back. Again and again God proved Himself as their provider, defender and guide. Some decided to trust Him, being amply supplied and defended. Others chose to trust a gold calf, extra manna or other men, and they suffered severely. Those who followed the Lord, moving with the cloud, found provision. Those who longed for their former way of life brought destruction on themselves and others. The same applies today; those who trust God during their transition will have peace, provision and protection.
Embracing The New
This also requires trust. The first time God showed the Israelites Canaan, they rejected it because of a few giants. Rather than embracing the new place God was giving them to settle and prosper, they chose to stay in transition. Hadassah, or Esther, had a different attitude. When offered the chance to be queen of the land of her captivity, she embraced it. Her name was changed; her clothes and environment too. In some ways she was more captive as queen than she had been before. But the blessings, benefits and impact she had far outweighed the discomfort she overcame.
There were some giants that loomed as I considered the place God was leading me. It was in another state and our daughter was a senior in high school. My husband's work would potentially be impacted. But as we talked, my husband and I both had peace that God would make a way if we embraced where God wanted me to serve. Instead of moving, God made a way for me to travel back and forth, but often work right from home! Technology is a great gift from God!
Completing The Transition
This is an opportunity to trust. Our past experiences are helpful in the new place God puts us, but still, we haven't been this way before. God is up to new things. Our human nature might want to change our new situation to be like one we felt comfortable with before. But it is God's nature to transform us into a new creation. It's OK to draw from the wisdom God has revealed to us in the past as long as we continue to trust Him to give us fresh wisdom for the new season and direction.
When Esther was faced with the Hebrews' extinction, she could have donned Hebrew clothes, marched into the King's presence and accused Haman of treachery. Instead she used wisdom gained in her new surroundings, approaching the king as a queen should.
She served him a fine Persian banquet and adorned herself in royal robes. But she also clothed herself in humility through fasting, called on the Lord for favor and revealed her heritage at a carefully planned moment. She was the Persian queen, but with godly wisdom and character. Today she is celebrated for her willingness to trust God by embracing her position in a foreign land to save God's people.
The benefits and blessing of each new season can transform our lives in a beautiful way when we choose to trust God through the transition. That career transition allowed me to have more time at home with my family. The impact of the new ministry reaches into communities and nations where I had no contact before. A new peace settled over me that convinced me I was in the right place.
So, this new season, and every time God brings change your way, it is a time to trust God. In your trust you will learn to revere, love and fear the Lord in a greater measure.
God is bringing a new time and season. So, embrace it! Trust Him through it! With God in control, the outcome can only be good.
It is time to trust the Lord!
Jodie Chiricosta serves as the vice president of Somebody Cares America/ International. Through her more than 25 years of experience in disaster response, humanitarian relief and development with Operation Blessing and Somebody Cares America/Intl. as well as her continual involvement in a variety of community service and international outreach activities, she has long been an agent of positive change. Listen to Jodie's guest podcast episodes on A Word In Season with Doug Stringer on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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