As previously addressed, transition can be a very intense season. What makes it so hard to navigate is that you are usually completely unaware of what's coming. What's even more challenging is that God still requires us to remain faith-filled and faithful during seasons of transition.
I've been pondering my approach to this week's blog and I feel like an exemplary candidate for this week's subject would be John The Baptist. In my eyes, John went through a very tough transition. When I look at his story, I wonder how hard it was for him to keep offense from entering his heart. John's transition was from the front to the back.
When we begin reading about John, we see him as "The voice crying out in the wilderness." John was a faithful man of God. He had been trusted with the monumental call and assignment of preparing the way of the Lord. Jesus even said that up to that point in time, there had never been one so great as John.
Seriously? How many people can say they've received a compliment from Jesus about the "greatness of their character?" John had so many reasons to brag. We can even say that their were many leaders in that day who had given way to selfishness and a religious spirit, and John was the only one who had remained genuine. He continued to preach his message with a heart full of conviction and passion. Today, John would be seen as one who never took part in compromise, who fled from the temptation to objectify his congregation for personal gain and strived for kingdom gain. John was the man!
Yet, as all of John's prophecies and predictions were validated, his story took an unexpected turn. All of the sudden, there's a new guy on the scene, his name is Jesus and He's the son of God. And instead of seeing John and his cousin preach side by side in glorious might and power, we see John saying, "I must decrease and He must increase."
This was probably one of the MOST important transitions in history, and BOY was it a tough one. It was not too long after this statement that people began to notice Jesus baptizing more people than John, a few of John's disciples left to follow Jesus, and John was put in prison.
Do you think that John struggled with offense? Wait! Let me ask you this: Would you have struggled with offense? I mean, here comes this person you've been prophesying about. He starts and IS the movement you've been prophesying about, and begins to preach the "Repent! And turn from your sins" message that YOU'VE been preaching. And on top of that, you get put in prison and DON'T get to be apart of the history-making movement that God used YOU to paved the way for.
YES! The answer is YES! JOHN WAS MET WITH THE TEMPTATION TO GET OFFENDED! Remember? John sends his disciples to ask Jesus, "Ummmm... are you the christ? Or should we look for someone else?" You wanna know how I interpreted that question?
--With my trembling (I'm about to cry) voice - "Um... are you the Christ? Cause I'm still in prison and you're over here like.....I don't know... I'm just wonderin' you know? like...."
But Jesus' response, although it's not easy to hear, gives us Kingdom perspective. He says, "Blessed are they who are not offended on account of me." ............. WHOA... if John wasn't struggling with offense, then why did Jesus respond concerning offense? This was a tough transition to make, even for the "greatest man to walk the face of the earth."
Here's my point.....During times of transition, the easiest person to take offense with is God himself because, God has the ability to change things. He also has the infinite ability to re-affirm you and re-establish your dignity. He has the power to let everyone know that YOU followed his leading. But, what happens when the things God spoke through you concerning change begin to happen, and you don't get praised for your prophetic words?
What do you do when things DO happen the way GOD said they would but not the way YOU pictured them happening? I was discussing John with a friend of mine and he pointed out that John didn't even get to see most of his prophecies come to pass.
Sometimes, this is what transition feels like... Transition causes us to ask ourselves the hard questions like, "Did I follow God so that I could be glorified, or did I follow God out of obedience?" Transition causes us to ask ourselves hard questions like, "Does He really have my back?" Transition.... caused John to ask Jesus, "Are you the Christ?"
Can I share ONE of my nicer carnal stories? I went through a tough transition a while back. It was VERY painful and nearly everything around me and connected to me changed. (except for my family) I was SOOO mad at God. One time I screamed at him, "Where the Hell are you?!?" This, of course, was during a private moment with him haha. I was raw and I was hurting. I had pictured him swooping in and rescuing me. I just knew he was going to bless me openly and restore me back to a certain place. But, he didn't. He moved me to a humble place. Oh my dear friend, Transition.
Have you ever been so offended at God, that doubt slips in, and instead of questioning God's ways you begin to question God?
Wow.. I am sure those of you who are in transition have a lot of questions that I don't have the answers to, but I can tell you this: Matthew 11:6 (Amplified) "Blessed [joyful, favored by God] is he who does not take offense at Me [accepting Me as the Messiah and trusting confidently in My message of salvation].” Trust him... Take his words to heart and rejoice in the blessings you DO have. Rejoice in the good things in your life. Take time to highlight the things you ARE sure of instead of complaining about the things you are UNSURE of during this season.
I want to leave you with this. When God brings about change in your life, he's not trying to build your ego, HE IS BUILDING YOUR CHARACTER AND HIS KINGDOM. In other words, He loves you and he wants the glory out of your story. I'm sorry if you feel disappointed at this post. It is lacking in fluff. I will admit that. But I didn't want to paint a pretty picture today, I wanted to paint a real one; something that speaks to your situation and encourages you at the same time. I want to end this post the same way I ended the last one.
Philippians AMP 1:6 I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]