As Christians, we should all be thankful (and really, we are) for another day of breath, health, and life. We recognize and acknowledge this particular new day as a tremendous blessing, but I think God understands how difficult Monday mornings can be. After all, He made Monday!
With that said, today’s word of the day is transition. One of my best friends and best prayer buddies gave me that word once as an encouragement for where I was at that somewhat trying moment in my life.
I looked up her word of encouragement in the dictionary and read that transition is defined as “the process of moving from one point to another; change; or evolution.”
I quietly laughed and told the Lord that I was under the impression He did not believe in evolution. I don’t think He appreciated my humor! I, on the other hand, thought it was a right cute remark. After I apologized for my smart mouth, the Lord patiently began to show me why transition is good for me – and maybe even why it can be good for you.
The Lord directed me to study the life of Paul, and in the process, I came to see the concept of transition in a whole new light.
When the Apostle Paul (Saul, at the time) had his Damascus Road encounter with Christ, he radically gave his entire life to the service of the Lord. And what an encounter it was! Paul was never, ever the same person again.
Now, you and I know that Paul became possibly the greatest evangelist to ever live. In fact, most Gentile Christians have Paul to thank for helping ensure that the salvation message reached their ancestors. Not to mention the fact that a large portion of the New Testament was written by Paul under the unction of the Holy Ghost.
But if we examine Paul’s personal story, we learn that he tried to share his amazing salvation experience immediately but was met with great skepticism and even threats of death. That was quite understandable, considering that Saul had zealously hunted down Christians in hopes of killing them and eradicating their message. No wonder that early believers were afraid of Saul-turned-Paul; he had given them much reason to be wary!
So, after his initial conversion to Christianity, Paul had to take a break and transition into his new name and his new calling. In fact, I read that some commentators believe it was a period of 3-10 years after Paul’s Damascus Road encounter before he actually began his evangelism in earnest.
During those transition years, we do know that Paul left Damascus briefly and traveled through Arabia before returning to live and work in Damascus as a tentmaker. All during those years, it is documented that he constantly shared his experience and relationship with Christ. He just never fully moved into that place which God eventually called him, that role of church leader and evangelist to the Gentiles – not until after his transition years.
Think about that long and hard.
Here was an educated, powerful man, accustomed to receiving recognition, prestige, and even fear from his Jewish community. Yet, after his conversion, he had to sit down and earn the trust and respect of his fellow Christians.
And maybe, just maybe, during this time, Paul had to get to know this Messiah whom he had unexpectedly met outside of Damascus in an intimate, more personal way. Perhaps it was these transition years that laid a sure foundation for Paul to be able to victoriously live a life of loneliness, pain, hunger, danger, persecution, and ultimately, death in service to his Savior.
I don’t know about Paul, but as for me, I’m not really fond of transition. If I could by-pass transitional times in my life, I probably would. But, if I look back with honesty and candor, taking the shortcut through those past times of change and evolution would have been tragic. God knew exactly what I needed during those tough, challenging times, and He loved me enough to help me go through and grow through those times of transition.
And of course, His ways are so much higher and better than mine. How could we ever doubt His plans for us? After all, the God who made this Monday also made all the Mondays yet to come in my life.
The Bible says that only He knows “the beginning from the end.” Only He is the “Alpha and Omega.” With that knowledge and hope in my mind, I can continue to transition from this rather dull and uncertain “Monday” of my walk with Christ and patiently wait for each “Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, etc.” still to come.
Until then, I pray this dreary Monday morning transitions into a great day of possibility and hope for each of us.