“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” Psalm 61:2 (NIV).
When I’m facing transitions in my life, it seems as if nothing is familiar. Having been through a couple of job changes these past few months, I have used the analogy, “I feel like Dorothy in the spinning house,” quite frequently. This current job transition has left me questioning what direction God wants me to go in. After much time spent in prayer, I have felt God challenging me to not only consider a job that satisfies my own needs and desires, but one that also satisfies the needs of my family.
It wasn’t long before God placed a job opportunity before me that would require more responsibility and longer hours on my part, working at an organization going through a lot of transitions themselves. After spending a couple of months job searching and wondering how much longer we could afford me not working, it was necessary for me to really look at this job as a viable option for us. After much prayer and time spent talking it over with my husband and the people I trust most, it became clear that I needed to trust that God was giving me an opportunity here. So, I made the leap of faith and took the job.
During the process, though, I felt just like Dorothy in that spinning house – lying on my bed, watching the people and pieces of my life spinning helplessly around me. For me, “transition” wells up a feeling inside of not knowing when my spinning house is going to land, so I am able to feel steady and solid to the ground.
There is one person in the Bible that I know can relate to this feeling and it is, Joshua. Joshua was Moses’ successor and the person God chose to entrust leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. He was given the challenge to lead an entire nation into battle and in conquering the land that God had set apart for His people. It was definitely no small task.
In the very first chapter of Joshua, God tells him “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9 (NLT). God tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous” three times in this chapter. I can only imagine how Joshua must’ve felt in carrying the enormous responsibility of facing battle and delivering God’s people into the land He had promised them!
Later in chapter 5, Joshua meets a man near the town of Jericho, “standing in front of him with sword in hand,” and he approaches the man asking him, “Are you friend or foe?” The man replies, “Neither one. I am commander of the Lord’s army.” Immediately, Joshua falls to the ground in reverence replying, “I am at your command. What do you want your servant to do?” (See Joshua 5:13-14). To me, these passages show us the reassurance that Joshua needs and that we all need from God. Yet, instead of a reassuring answer, Joshua gets an invitation to worship. “The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy’” Joshua 5:15 (NLT).
After reading through the first five chapters in the Book of Joshua, I am challenged by how often I need to be reminded of God’s presence in my own life, especially during times of transition. God teaches us through Joshua, that we don’t need to have all the answers – we just need to know that God is for us and He is with us. Maybe the reason I feel like Dorothy in the spinning house when transitions occur in my life, is because I am not stopping and standing before the Lord with my needs and making Him the “Commander” of my life.
When I make God the “Commander,” it eliminates the fear of not knowing what will happen next. That’s not to say I won’t ever feel afraid or question what God’s plans are for me; however, I can decide in those moments where I want to place my trust – in God or in myself. It is this truth that allows me to make the decisions I need to make without knowing the answers or the outcome.
Transitions don’t necessarily feel good, but that doesn’t mean they are not good for us. After all, if Dorothy hadn’t been swooped up by the tornado, she would never have learned that home is so important. Sometimes the tornado needs to come and sweep us up, in order for us to fix our attention on what is important.
Thank you for your Word and showing us, through Joshua, how important it is for us to make you the “Commander” of our lives. When times of transition are upon us, may we hold tightly to You and what Your will is for us. Help us to take the time to “be strong and courageous,” to be obedient to You and to spend the time in worship and in studying Your Word. Thank you for the gift of this new job and the opportunity it brings to grow me and to stretch me in ways that I might not understand, but do not need to. When I feel like life is spinning too fast, let Your Spirit calm my soul and remind me of where my focus needs to be – not to the left or the right, but to You. In Your Son Jesus’ Name, Amen.