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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Transition Points

Just outside the hospital, we have a sloped ramp which assists those coming in from the parking lot with walkers and wheelchairs to gradually transition onto the sidewalk without much effort.  This area is painted a bright yellow - neon yellow.  Why?  I think it is to call your attention to the ramp if you need the little bit of "extra help" making the transition, but it is also to call your attention to the "change in elevation" for those who are walking along without assistive devices.  The neon color helps to draw the eye to the area - in hopes one will be conscious of the transition which is occurring in that spot.  I wonder if God has any such "neon" warnings for us as we make transitions with him in the spiritual sense - navigating from one point to another?  The neon color of the sidewalk does more than point out the path for the one walking, but it also marks the potential of falling for those who don't heed its warning of transition from the bright yellow to the red color.

Watch your step when you enter God’s house.  Enter to learn. That’s far better than mindlessly offering a sacrifice, doing more harm than good.  (Ecclesiastes 5:1 MSG)

God has provided various "transition points" for us in our spiritual walk.  They may not bear the neon coloring of the walkway I mentioned above, but they do have some carefully planned indicators of the transition which is occurring. When we heed the signs of transition, the journey is made a little easier.  The invalid in a wheelchair could struggle to get the wheelchair up onto the sidewalk at some other point - having to find a way to bring those wheels up the 8 or 10 inches of sidewalk rise.  They might even have to go a long way around to another transition point if they didn't use the one provided and clearly marked out for them.  This seems silly when one is so clearly marked, doesn't it?  Yet, we often find ourselves doing the same thing in our spiritual lives.

We find points of transition clearly marked out, but choose a different "point" at which we will attempt to make the transition in our lives.  There is much effort on our part in both seeking and trying to attain the transition at any other point than the one clearly marked out by God!  The most amazing thing to me is how frequently we look for some other "transition point" other than the one God designs for our specific need!

Our writer also reminds about the level of alertness which we need to possess whenever we are moving from one plane to the next.  Transition is a passage from one place to another.  All of spiritual growth is based on making these passages, isn't it?  We move in a continuum from one place to another, until we finally have lasting evidence of the growth in our lives.  Each step requires an attentiveness to the voice of God - hearing ears and listening heart.  Our emotions cannot be trusted to "find" the right transition point - we must key into the truth of God's Word, the integrity of his Spirit's guidance, and the knowledge of how we see him working in the lives of others on this journey to recognize the "transition points" in our walk.

Regardless of where you go in life, there are points of transition all around you in the physical sense.  You move from the outside into the house by means of a threshold - a point of transition.  You traverse from one highway to another, until you reach your destination - each transition taking you just a little closer to your intended destination.  You are constantly faced with multiple opportunities for transition - even in these examples, there is more than one "transition point".  The house has both a front and back door - either could allow your transition from the outside.  The highways only serve to make the trip a little faster, but the side-roads would also help you to arrive at your destination.  The truth is, God marks out the best "path" for us - so we make the transition as he intends it!

Being alert for the signs of transition in our lives often helps us avoid unwarranted hazards along the way.  Whether it is a transition from one place in our attitude to another, or the movement from one plane in a relationship to another - we need to understand the path we are taking!  My hospital has 7 floors.  I can take the stairs to the top, or I can enjoy the luxury of the elevator.  The steps give me immediate access - no waiting to use them.  Yet, there is a degree of exertion which taxes my body beyond its limits in trying to make it to the top!  The elevator may take a little while to come, but based on what I know about taking the transition of the stairs, I wait for the elevator!  Now, if it is one or two flights, that is a different matter - either transition gets me there in about the same time.  The choice in that instance may not make much difference.  Yet, when I need to get all the way to the 7th floor, the choice I make DOES make a difference!  I might reach the top, but winded, later than expected, heart-racing, and a little fatigued!

Solomon reminds us of the caution of choosing the correct transition points in our lives - not just spiritually, but in every relationship, every financial decision, and in every dealing we involve ourselves in throughout the course of the day.  The point at which we choose to begin our transition may make all the difference in how well we arrive at our destination.  Just sayin!