Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
This post is taken from some notes from a sermon a year or two ago. I read them tonight and they spoke to me all over again. As I transition from one stage to another ( read Stepping Out here) I believe hope and vision are key. The Greek word for substance in Hebrews eleven speaks of support, something underneath shoring up. And the word for evidence denotes conviction. In other words, faith supports our convictions in the area we have invested in…the things hoped for.
As you read this, I pray God speaks to you and where you might be in your transitional time.
Read Exodus 17:1-7
At the core of Israel’s grumbling about the lack of water was simple, they doubted His goodness. Even after God had brought them out of slavery, led them through the Red Sea, drowned Pharaoh’s armies, and provided fast food in the desert. They still weren’t convinced that God would take care of them…imagine that! (Actually, I can…been there, done that…got the lousy T-shirt)
Huge transition moment! Notice what God did or in this case, didn’t do:
- He didn’t lead them to an well stocked wet bar
- He didn’t have them drill a well
- He didn’t have them go to a river or oasis
Father God led them to a….rock.
God was going to act in their behalf in such a way that there could be no doubt that it was God who had done it. Sometimes God will use a hard place, a hard thing to show himself.
And that is what transition is all about…God taking us from one place to another, while changing our character in the process. Transitions are hard, difficult, but on the other side is the fruit we hope for.
Ask any mom about the birthing process and all will say that transition is the hardest, most painful phase of the birthing process. My wife Christine would tell you that it was “productive pain” because it helped deliver what she was hoping for and looking forward to for 9 months…a baby. My wife never took any pain medication because she felt it would dull the pain to such a point to make the contractions less productive and further delay the fruit of her…labor. I think there is a message in that for us.
Transitions birth something in us.
The force in transition is contractions, the muscle spasms that bring new life into a mom’s arms…painful? Yes! Fruitful?...without a doubt. In the same manner, Father God uses these moments in our lives to get us ready for new life…to step into new places. To help us understand, we need to look at Joshua.
Read Joshua 1: 3-9
Joshua is in transition…his mentor, his leader is gone, the pressures, the contractions of leadership are squeezing him. In this moment I think God speaks three things…Promise, direction and new life.
Promise (verses 3-6) 3 Parts
Father God says “I will give you (I am reminded …that God so love he gave) every place you step on. That’s a promise of security, of progress and purpose.
There’s a going forward pledge here but Joshua had to step out and believe God and in His goodness. The promise is for us as well…There are great tracts of "land" God would give you that are now occupied by the enemy. They don't belong to the enemy. They belong to you. God has given them to you. It takes stepping out in faith.
God also promises “that no one is going to be able to stand up to you”. The promise is NOT that no one is going to mess with Joshua…they’re going to try but will not succeed. That’s a promise of victory and vision. God has assured victory but allows us to see the battle for what it is…so we can be prepared for the next contraction. How? Just like Joshua…Be strong and courageous. More on that later…
I will not fail you or forsake you…. This is a promise about God's help, but also a promise about relationship. Father God desires to be with us during times of transition. Yes, transitions birth something from deep inside us and that includes the knowledge that He will never leave or forsake us. That’s a rock solid promise of hope don’t you think?
Next time…Direction (verses 7-8)