By Tracy Erickson
Whether it’s an unplanned move, an abrupt end to an overseas assignment, the loss of a job, or sudden orders to quarantine, there can be a sense of incompletion, a blur of confusion, and the jolted feeling of emotional whiplash. “What just happened?” “It happened so quickly!” “I had no say in the matter!” These are thoughts that can run through our minds.
The evacuation. The sudden end. The immediate flight to leave a country. The cancelled plans.
When walking through something so intense and unfamiliar, we start looking around for resources that can help us navigate through the unwelcome transition that we never signed up for. It’s something that happened to us, not something we chose.
With the abrupt change, we learn to adapt and adjust to the present reality. The familiarity of what we knew suddenly came to a stop. The plans we once had are now erased or deleted from our calendars. All things new… all things new. With change – especially one that involves a move – there’s so much new to learn or re-learn.
Transition in crisis. Is there a guide to help us navigate through the storm?
After 5 international moves, 4 stateside moves, and 5 house-to-house moves, the one guide I go to is a book that was written years ago. It was a book written with you and me in mind. It’s the only book I know of that speaks directly to each of us and our unique situation. As a follower of Jesus, I can confidently say that God’s own words in the Bible are the words that can help us navigate the chaos, provide stability, give direction, and breathe hope into our lives.
God’s Word lends vocabulary to help name our hardship. We find words such as: Shaken. Troubled. Weary. Burdened. Dismayed. Sorrowful. Turbulent. Helpless. Distressed. Tired. Rough. Absent. Interrupted. My heart is wounded.
God’s Word can teach us about lament – grieving our losses.
It could be the loss of a person, a place, an item, or an event. A big loss after an abrupt removal is when we didn’t have the chance to say goodbye. We may relate with the book of Ruth when it says, “She left the place where she had been living and set out on the road” (Ruth 1:7). It’s good to allow space in our hearts to lament loss.
Interestingly, when we are able to be honest about our grief, our eyes are also opened to our gratitude. The book of Psalms has a lot we can relate to. When we read through Psalms, we see that it’s a radiant mix of both grief and gratitude.
God’s Word provides hope. We learn that God is known as El Roi, Hebrew for “The God Who Sees.” We learn that He Himself is our help, His Spirit is called Helper. We learn that He knows our thoughts and that we are never alone. We learn that He turns our darkness to light. We learn that He gives strength to the weak and that He rises to show us compassion.
When we open a Bible, we often find what we’ve been searching for. For example, open to the middle of the Bible, find Psalm 139, and allow the words to minister to you in your current situation.
An abrupt, unplanned move or change rattles things to the core. May you find your stability in Jesus. When everything around you is changing, may you look to the One who never changes. The Lord is our One true constant. The Bible is a precious gift which has been preserved over time for us. I pray, as your physical eyes read the words on the page, that your spiritual eyes will be opened and that it will become a balm for your soul.
Shalom to your heart, Tracy Erickson