“For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so I will look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.” Ezekiel 34:11-12
To say that this has been a trying time for the remnant Bride of Christ would be an understatement. Many have felt lost and isolated, not even sure where the goal line is anymore. It’s been a time when many have felt like their hopes have been deferred time after time. Maybe you’re in that place, grappling with feelings of disappointment. Life just isn’t playing out the way you expected.
This is what I believe God is doing in this season: He’s removing all the props from our lives. Those things that may have even been good things. But they were never meant to be the foundation of our hope. Only God alone is our One True Foundation. God is transferring our hope and expectancy off of everything else and putting it onto Himself. In this hallway of transition in our lives, He Himself is with us in these isolated places where we find ourselves. When every door of opportunity seems locked, He is there with us.
I’ve found myself in this hallway for a couple of years now. Knowing there’s something He’s calling me to. Not totally sure what that even looks like. Just compelled to go to that unknown place with Him. Like Abraham, called out before I knew where He was calling me. Just knowing that I couldn’t stay where I was. I expected that when I set out for the unknown, I’d take one step after another until I was in the new place, wherever that was. But no, He’s asking me to wait. Stand still. Aaaargh! I hate waiting! Especially waiting in a place where community feels scarce.
As I look at the fruit of this maddening season of “not yet,” this is what I see: a growing dependence on Him alone to sustain me. My Faithful Good Shepherd. In what feels like a desolate place, He’s given me water from the rock. When I’m hungry for more, he feeds me with manna from heaven. Like the children of Israel in the desert, I’m so often tempted to whine for more. He says,
“Focus on provision, not lack. Be content with what I’ve provided. It’s enough. Choose gratitude. Those who wait for Me will not be disappointed.”
If you find yourself in a similar season as I’m experiencing, this is how My Good Shepherd and I are navigating it:
I lean in. I come to Him when I need a drink to sustain me. When my emotions are filled with pain, I seek Him in His word and in prayer. How timely and personal I’ve found time with Him to be.
Another way He’s sustained me in this season is by remembering that He knows exactly where I am. When I feel lost at sea with no sense of where the shore is, I remember Psalm 139:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Another way that I believe God wants to sustain us in the halls of transition is this: remember that we can experience the fruits of the Spirit here. Yes, it takes intentionally to choose joy in this place, but we can do it! The fruits of the Spirit are the abundant life Jesus came to give us. But we have to choose to take hold of them. It’s so easy in the hallway of transition to go back and forth between anger and crying. But there’s another option. I saw this so clearly when God gave me an object lesson in it. My husband and I were visiting our daughter and her family. Our son-in-law and grandchildren were laughing and playing. Our grandchildren would jump into their daddy’s lap, laughing and giggling as he tickled them. Then they’d take off running down the hallway, just to turn around and come back for more. In that moment, it was like the Lord showed me that transition times don’t have to be filled with frustration and anger. We can enjoy our Father’s presence. We can even find joy in this hallway if we choose it.
Another thing that sustains me in this season is to remember the Faithfulness of our Good Shepherd. Even if others have failed us, He never will. Maybe you’ve felt disappointed by someone. Maybe it was a spouse, an employer, or even the Church. If we will make our Good Shepherd the foundation for our hope, we can have stable emotions even during difficult seasons.
It helps me to remember that God is the One Who changes times and seasons. When God has accomplished in us what He determined, He will bring us into something new. And hold onto your hat when He does, because the shift can happen in a moment!
Have no doubt, God is totally capable and willing to fulfill His purposes for your life. The Bible tells us that, “His purposes will stand and He will do all that He pleases.”
May you trust Your Good Shepherd completely as you wait for Him,