Naturally, we all undergo transitions. We transition from elementary school to high school, then college or the workfield. We transition from childhood to adulthood. We transition from living at home to living on our own, and maybe back home again. We transition from singleness, dating, to engagement, and then marriage. We transition from no job, volunteering, to different kinds of jobs, and then to retirement.
And most significantly, we transition from life to death.
Is it worth the hype?
I vividly recall warnings I received as a kid about the effect growing up would bring. I was over the moon about becoming an adult one day and doing adult-like things. It’s not until you’ve gone through multiple transitions that you really begin to feel the weight of them.
Some of us have had to experience more transitions quicker, sometimes due to unfortunate circumstances beyond our control.
For what it’s worth, the transitions I’ve experienced up until this point of my life, have been quite a burden on me. Perhaps you can resonate to some degree.
The Burden Comes With Age
Looking back on my life so far, I’ve transitioned from different churches, different schools, different jobs, different relationships.
I’ve transitioned from regular living to pandemic living, and now to post-pandemic living.
And how can I forget? I’ve transitioned from regular living to pandemic living, and now post-pandemic living.
It’s the mix of my own transitions and of those closest to me that weighs heavy on me.
Having started a new job at a new church, I’m in the midst of building a new community. All the while, I'm watching those who I’ve done community with for so long do it amongst themselves — apart from me.
Although they don't intend to exclude me, I can't help but feel detached from them. Friends will be friends, regardless of circumstances, right? I believe so. But as long as you’re not immediately present, you will always feel a sense of being left out.
I'm also at the age where the majority of my closest friends have found their significant others. What a joy it is to witness my friends enter into relationships with genuinely godly people. But with that comes a shift in priorities.
They rightly spend more time with their boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. They also rightly, and somewhat painfully, detach themselves from interacting with me like they used to.
Slowly Coping, Slowly Learning
In case you haven’t caught on, I haven’t transitioned very well. I did not realize how draining the summation of these transitions would be for my soul.
I’ve felt like a car speeding through an empty road. Suddenly, I’m minutes away from falling off the end. I manage to hit the brakes just in time. Frazzled, heart pounding at a rapid rate, I’m barely able to catch my breath and keep my sanity at the same time.
When learning how to transition well, it’s inevitable that you'll make mistakes. Recently, my mistake was forgetting where I should find my true satisfaction.
I did not realize how draining the summation of transitions would be for my soul.
I’ve grown in my appreciation of my friends, but I realize that they've become a means of escape. Even what we deem as pure, what we understand to be a rich gift from God, is capable of being twisted into something it’s not. Sin often manifests itself that way. It makes idols out of what is rarely conceived to become idols.
The truth is, this has rarely been an issue for me. Don't get me wrong, I’ve made idols out of many things. But friendship? What would make me do that?
I think the strength of my grip on friendship increased drastically, because it was the one thing outside of God that seemed to be consistent in my life. But, these days, friendship is no longer what I’ve always known it to be. No wonder I’ve held on tighter than I ever have.
Jesus Understands Like No Other
Taking the time to write this out has helped me immensely. As I shared my story with one friend in particular, she pointed out the many people my age, similarly, experience loneliness through these transitions. She helped me realize that no matter how close I am to my peers, they are in a sense unable empathize with me the way I’d like.
At the end of the day, there’s only one Person that understands transitions better than any human being, and that’s the Lord Jesus, Himself.
Jesus prepared Himself to transition from life to death.
As the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus was enjoying perfect fellowship with the Father and the Spirit. In the eternal plan of God, He transitioned from His time of fellowship to becoming a human being that walked this earth. Jesus came to this world as a baby and experienced transitions from childhood to adulthood. He even transitioned from ordinary, below-the-radar ministry for thirty years to the greatest ministry anyone’s ever accomplished in three years.
While praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, before going to the cross, Jesus was preparing Himself to transition into death. What I find heartbreaking is how alone He was in that garden. Despite lacking His disciples’ attention, He had His Father’s attention — the One who does not require sleep and has no reason to fret, for He knows all things. It’s to His ever-present Father that Jesus prayed:
“All things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)
Jesus went to the Father in His distress, prayed to the Father in His loneliness, and obediently transitioned onto an old rugged cross, the place where He would take the punishment you and I deserve for our sins. He then transitioned into glory, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and we await his ultimate return when we, too, will transition into glory. Thank you Jesus for this transition.
Throughout all this, I’ve found encouragement in observing the Lord Jesus. I hope you do, too. In moments of loneliness, you and I can know with certainty that we’re in good company. Jesus understands what we’re feeling.
Jesus is here to help us navigate transitions sensibly.
He’s here to point us to God the Father who’s aware of every transition that will take place in our lives. By His Spirit, though we often walk into the unknown, we can walk with confidence in the Father’s plan, just like Christ. Though pain is a part of this plan, far surpassing it is much good; far surpassing it is much glory.
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This article was originally posted on https://www.kaylonjoseph.com and republished with permission.