Today, we come to the end of our Crossroads journey with a look at how we can navigate life’s changes.
Over the month, we explored,
- How Jesus entered Jerusalem to shouts of praise, and how we need to take a step back and listen for His voice in our lives.
- How Jesus was tempted in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry, and how we can learn to fight our own temptations.
- How Jesus navigated heartbreak, denial, and betrayal while calling us to surrender all of these to Him.
Changes & Transitions
All of us have experienced changes and transitions in our lives. Naturally, we progress through the education system culminating in a certificate, diploma, degree, or license.
Once upon a time, our dreams outpaced our reality, and we thought we could do anything. We wanted to be doctors, lawyers, firefighters, police officers, athletic stars, and the list continues.
However, our dreams met reality somewhere on life’s journey, and something changed.
Growing up, I loved running cross country. One summer heading into my 8th-grade year, I ran 400 miles and spent time at an exclusive running camp in Humboldt, CA.
My dream was to run Division 1 cross country, but somewhere along the way, I flamed out. I ran some of my fastest times during my freshmen year of high school and only managed mediocre times the rest of my high school career.
As a result, I hung up my racing shoes and traded them in for a clipboard and a whistle. Yep, that’s right, I became a coach and had far more success as a coach than I ever did as an athlete.
Ed Young, Jr. says,
“God is preparing you for what He has prepared for you.”
Over the years, I kept this quote close to my heart, and it helped guide me through other life changes. When I hung up my whistle and clipboard, I had several league championships, individual league and regional champions, and one state finalist.
My perspective changed, and it was the best decision I ever made…in fact, it formed the foundation of my leadership and mentorship style.
God’s Plan For Our Lives
When our plans change, sometimes it’s because we changed them, and other times it is because God changed them for us.
I can point to several moments in my life where God clearly moved me in certain directions and opened those doors.
Here are a few moments:
- Traveling with the U.S. & U.K Continental Singers
- Athlete to Coach
- Engineering Administrator to Facilities Planner
- Multiple mission trips
In their book The Power of Moments, Chip Heath and Dan Heath say four things that caught my attention:
“Moments are what we remember and what we cherish.”
“Your moment of courage might be a defining moment for someone else.”
“Defining moments arise when we create shared meaning.”
“We did something that mattered today.”
When we look back over our lives, we want to know we were successful and made a difference.
God’s plan for our lives is usually the best, but we seem to mess it up; however, God allows U-turns. He works to bring about restoration in our lives.
In the book of Jeremiah, the Israelites have been captured by the Babylonians. Scriptures say they will be exiled for 70 years.
They longed to be back in Jerusalem throughout their time in exile, but it would not be for a while. Jeremiah recognizing their frustration and discontent, desired to give them hope even if the solution was not in the near term.1
“This is what the Lord says: ‘You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.’” – Jeremiah 29:10
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“'In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord . ‘I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.’” – Jeremiah 29:12-14
Message of Hope
The Lord clearly states that He will do all that He has promised and will bring them back home when the time is right. Jeremiah 29:11 is frequently quoted when it comes to our plans and how God’s plan is to prosper us and not harm us.
This is true, but we tend to mess up the big picture. We think we know better than God. The Israelites were in captivity because they had gone against God’s law.
He needed to bring them back to their first love. He often needs to do the same with us.
The words of the Lord captured in Jeremiah 29:13 are still true for us today. He says,
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”2
God’s message of hope is that with Him, we can navigate life’s changes and transitions. It won’t be easy, but we can weather them with His guidance and help.
God’s Story For Me
I have heard it said before that you should never…get married, move, and start a new job all at the same time. Well..that’s what I am about to embark on.
In the Valentine’s Day episode of this podcast, I shared that I surrendered my desire to get married and have a family to the Lord. He then brought someone into my life who was the perfect fit for me.
Last Tuesday, I asked her to marry me, and she said, “Yes”!
Engagement Photo Here
She and I have been living a bi-coastal relationship, and when we wed, I plan to move to the East Coast as well as get a job on that side of the country.
God was writing our love story long before we met. When I look back over the changes God did in my life, I can see the path He had me on, but I didn't see what He was doing when I was in the midst of them.
You might be wondering what God is doing in your life? Does He even care what is happening to you?
I assure you, God does care, and sometimes the story He is writing for you takes a little longer to craft – that’s how it was for me.
Today, in our final crossroad reflection, I encourage you to sit and review the changes in your life. What journey did God have you on? Who did you meet along the way to guide you?
Where did you make mistakes?
And…did you see how God restored you to the path He wanted you to take. Just as God encouraged the Israelites in captivity, God is reaching out to you and me to encourage you on your journey.
For some of you, chaos may be raining down all around you, and for others, you might be experiencing calm in your life. Wherever God has you on your journey of life, I encourage you to ask Him what is next and where you are headed.
Spend some time seeking His answer to your questions about navigating life.
Lord, you are amazing! You encourage, lead, and love us when we don’t deserve it. Just as you encouraged the Israelites in captivity, we ask you to meet us where we at right now. Show us your grace and mercy in our lives as we seek Your best direction for our lives. Thank you for your blessings which are new each day. Amen!
- Crossroads series
- God has good plans (29:10–14). Seventy years, counting from 605, the battle of Carchemish, would extend to 535 B.C. Babylonian supremacy ended when Cyrus the Mede took Babylon in 539 B.C. Jeremiah refers to restoration to the land, a promise, even if in the distance, to encourage homesick captives. God desires to bless his people, and his plans are firm (Isa. 46:10).Elmer A. Martens, “Jeremiah,” in Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, vol. 3, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995), 540. ↩
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Je 29:13. ↩︎