Uprooted: The Christian Response to Transition
Change is an inevitable part of life. There are changes we desire:
Starting a Career
Going on Vacation
While these require adjustments that can be challenging, there is a willingness in our soul that produces a drive to accomplish the task. We enjoy these times. The emotions we experience are:
With these happy milestones, we are often rewarded by other people. A wedding or a newborn baby can brings gifts and celebrations. A career brings a paycheck and a pat on the back. But what about the changes we don’t desire?
These major shifts are not planned for and the emotions we experience are:
During positive times, we trust God without reservation. During negative times, we begin to shrink back from trusting God. We experience isolation or the sense of aloneness. Other people withdrawal. All citizens of the world experience highs and lows in natural circumstances.
But how are Christians to handle circumstantial transitions?
Shouldn’t they be easier for us?
Christians are called to be a light in a dark world. We are called to handle the major moves of God with grace, soul-control, and self-care. Faith comes easily when circumstances make sense, but what happens to our faith when nothing makes sense?
As Christians, we need to know this…
Unforeseen changes are also part of God’s Plan.
God doesn’t have two plans for you. He has one plan for you.
He always has.
So everything, no matter how foreign it feels, will become good in God’s hands. When we believe this, we can experience a holy ease even in the midst of an unwanted transition. The key is to trust God with your whole life—both the planned and the unplanned segments.
God knows what He is doing with you.
A sense of adventure can shift wild circumstances from a horror show to the most beautiful movie you have ever seen—and it’s your life!
“I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and
I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance.
I have learned…” (Philippians 4:12)
We learn to watch God move.
Paul states that he had to learn stability in Christ regardless of any kind of natural life change. Paul’s changes were providential, carefully arranged by God to orchestrate Paul’s ministry. Without the shipwrecks in Paul’s life, he wouldn’t have reached Rome and Christianity may not have spread to the world like it did.
God has a bigger range of vision than we do.
It is wise for Christians to educate themselves on transition as all of the Bible includes movement, even the command, “Go and tell.” We can be exceedingly blessed in this life. And we tend to equate blessing with natural stability. However, we can also go through times of being tried severely and we equate this with a feeling of being “lost”, or displaced. The answer to both conditions is the same exact love of Christ and this is something that is best learned while being moved. Paul continues in this scripture to tell us, “I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation…” (Phil 4:12). So what is this secret to Christian stability?
Watch God be God and go all the way through the scene.
Trust in God develops when we are committed to seeing the thing all the way through to its conclusion. The conclusion of any Christian trial will include the realization of the greatest commandment as found in Mark 12:30-31:
Love of God
Love of Others
Love of Self
Follow Him. More love is the conclusion of any Christian transition, whether the change in circumstance was wanted or unwanted, foreseen or unforeseen. This is where He is leading. This new wine provides the energy required to fulfill your eternal destiny, or God’s Plan for your life.
“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell
(settle down, abide, make His permanent home)
in your hearts!
May you be rooted deep in love and
founded securely on love…” (Ephesians 3:17)
The point of a major life change is two-fold:
We come to be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love, and
The Word of God is simultaneously rooted in our hearts.
“So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness,
and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word
which implanted and rooted [in your hearts]
contains the power to save your souls.” (James 1:21)
Observing the two verses above, we begin to see the nature of being “rooted” in Love while the Word is being “rooted” in our hearts. The Word and Love are both the same Person—Christ. Being rooted in Christ at this magnitude requires that we are uprooted from the world and engrafted to Him. This happens at no other time in our lives more than during unwanted change.
During anticipated changes, we get something that we want.
During unanticipated changes, God gets something He wants.
Whether the type of transition is a peak (celebratory) or a valley (grievous)—the end result is God’s blessings. This is a win/win situation for those in Christ Jesus. The secret of stability is knowing you are uprooted and transplanted by the Lord, Who is Master Gardener. This is why Christians can be just as stable during difficulty as when everything in life seems perfect.
I used to work in a tree nursery. The seedlings were planted in a field in generic rows to grow for several years. Then the time came for them to be uprooted. We dug them up and trimmed back the branches but we also sheered the roots! We plunked the diminished root ball into a plastic container and placed the trees in the yard outside the store. This was a time of uncertainty for the tree—a temporary, stressful and uncertain state. However, many of these trees were “tagged”, meaning someone had already bought them and purchased them long before we uprooted them from the field.
Like these trees, when we are uprooted by God and moved, the transition time can feel as if we cannot place any roots down. We are looking for a place to belong, to feel wanted and safe. But God has a plan that looks like an Eden. He is preparing a perfect place where His beloved is wanted and can stand out and blossom in a way she never could before.
You see, God already purchased you. You are already “tagged”.
The secret to stability during times of change is to understand the world turns, but God’s hand beneath it is always the same. He will not let you fall, but He will change your surroundings at times. Take His hand and let the world spin as it will.
He is the Master Gardener.
You will be rooted and grounded in a love that surpasses all understanding.
Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (La Habra, CA: The Zondervan Corporation and the Lockman Foundation, 1987). Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified Bible (AMPC), Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org.