When people go through transitions in life that cause discomfort it is frequently common to hear words of distress and displeasure. If we mention the feelings that are involved during hard transitions the least we can say is that it doesn’t feel nice. Oh, how at these moments the typical mind craves for relief! This is not to say that relief is a bad thing but what is often not closely considered is the experience that is gained during such moments.
I remember my first time joining school as a young boy getting admitted into baby class. Oh, how terrible this experience was for me at that time! Picture a young child who has for the past initial years of their life spent time in the care of a loving mother’s arms and now suddenly this helpless child is about to be subjected to the company of strangers for extended periods of time!
For the first week I cried my eyeballs out and I couldn’t stand the thought that my mother was going to be out of my line of sight. My mother had to devise plans of how to unsuspectingly sneak out of the school without me noticing. I thoroughly protested when I would find out that she was gone and I would even refuse to join the other pupils in class. The headmistress being a mother herself pitied my case and made a bargain with me by allowing me to sit in her office as I poured out my tears of anguish. This was my then definition of a fiery furnace of trial but as I look back now and consider who I have become thanks to education versus how much I was against the whole idea of being separated from my mother, I have understanding. Philip Yancey said, “Faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”
God is as interested in our journey as He is in our destination. The process of going through a fiery furnace is necessary because it does 2 things. (1) It reveals your character at that particular moment and (2) which is based on your free will, it either refines or destroys you. It’s absolutely crucial to understand that the 2 things here mentioned are interdependent because the choices that we make in adversity reveal who we are and this, in turn, gives us yet more opportunities to either remain the same or change what we see we are. I can choose to either focus on the problem and how bad it is or I can choose to focus on God and how good He is. The word of God gives many examples of this reality but one that fits this occasion is the statement that says, “By beholding we become changed” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Some people would more clearly understand the tested phrase “monkey see, monkey do”,
which means that a person copies the examples that they are exposed to.
Jesus was ever beholding the goodness and glory of His Heavenly Father which brought strength at all times. The fact that He never left His Father’s side even at the thought while suffering made the journey joyful not just for Himself but for others that would pass through hardships. (John 15:10, 11). Though the weight of sin that Christ bore was tremendous and far beyond anything that any mortal can ever bear, He still had time to give praise! “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4). This is the command that we are given by the Lord in the Holy Scriptures and it more practically applies when we go through trials. As we lift up our voices in praise, the sweet melodies of thanksgiving give us endurance and we are transformed to become more and more like God as we glorify Him.
Before you realise it the problem you prior wrestled with is gone and the victory gained is precious.
As Jesus was transitioning from the last supper to be betrayed and sold into the hands of His captors, He gave thanks to God. (Matthew 26:30). This act maintained the joyful union that He had with God and it played a pivotal role in showing the attitude we should have in such situations. The disciples later mimicked this rejoicing when they were persecuted for the name of Christ. (Acts 5:41). All of this made the experience worthwhile and produced patience in them. (Romans 5:3).
When I was a young child just joining school I sincerely thought that I was facing adversity but oh how I was utterly wrong. It’s something laughable considering if I had my own way, stayed in my comfort zone and
never went to school, I’d not be writing this article right now. This is by no means an attempt to water down the difficult transitions that you have faced or are currently facing but rather it is a call for you to give thanks to God in all things. It is often the case that when we look back in hindsight of our past experiences that we wonder how small our challenges were back then and why we ever even complained. How much more then shall our troubles fade into insignificance when Christ shall return and take us back home to heaven? Just like a young child that has a shallow perspective of things to come and the glories of heaven so even we in adulthood many times fail to appreciate the difficult transitions. May we understand that our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ( 2 Corinthians 4:17).
“Adulting is tough” and “Growing up sucks” are words that Jesus never spoke. Interestingly these are words that you may hear from people going through difficult times in life. It’s a truth to say that everyone has their fair share of trials and tribulations which would make such remarks as the ones quoted above relatable but now that we are no longer ignorant as children and know the truth concerning our bright future, may we never utter such negative words. May the haze of uncertainty and difficulty never cause us to lose sight of our current benefits in the Lord and our future blessed hope in Christ.
The point in all this for you is to rejoice in your difficult transitions. Whether it be adjusting your schedule to the COVID 19 pandemic, losing a loved one or getting robbed, God wants you to give thanks and glorify Him. This will enrich your Christian
journey and encourage others to begin their journey of difficult transitions with Christ.
Written by Moses Nguma