Chaplain Deron McDaniel, M.Div
Princeton Baptist Medical Center
Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” Numbers 14:3 (ESV)
The new year is off and running. For many of us, it is a time of transition. We are in the midst of processing what 2015 was still and anticipating all that 2016 can be. We are in transition. Transition by definition is the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. Life is filled with periods of transition. While it can a time of hope and optimism, sometimes it can also be a frightening time full of anxiety and uncertainty. Transitions are temporary but can feel like a lifetime; they can feel permanent. The Bible provides us with the story of the Children of Israel who God had delivered from slavery in Egypt with the intention of taking them to Canaan, the Land of Promise. Canaan was a land that was described as “flowing in milk and honey”; a good and fertile land. What stood between Egypt and Canaan was the “Wilderness”, their place of transition. Transition can be a helpful time in that it gives us time to process where we have been and helps us to get ready for where we are going.
From the context of the verse above, we find the Israelites in their transition on the verge of going into Canaan. Before entering, God instructed Moses to have them form a team of 12, one representing every tribe to recon the land to develop a plan of how they would go in to possess it. 10 of the 12 reported back that the land was as good as advertised but that the people in the land were too strong. What they encountered overwhelmed them. The remaining 2 reported back that they were able to take the land. This created much anxiety for the people who concluded that disaster was imminent and determined that it perhaps was better to go back to the place from whence God had delivered them and give us the promise of the future.
Many of us can relate to the Israelites because we too have experienced times when we have felt overwhelmed by what was before us. In order to navigate our transitions, we need to trust the plans and purposes of God. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God has big plans for our lives. The transition is a necessary part in getting us to the place God has destined for us. While this time may be rocky and scary, we must keep going. We must not give up. We must embrace the transition and all that does to release us from the past and to connect us with the future. Know that God will be there to help us every step of the way. I believe a great year awaits us so let’s get going.
Prayer: Kind and Gracious God, thank you for periods of transitions that helps us process the old and prepare for the new. Help us when we are uncertain and anxious to trust your plan and purpose for our lives. Help to enjoy the journey to the place you have destined for us. Grant your peace and your grace. In of name of Jesus. Amen.