As we grow, changes in our lives can be scary and seemingly impassable. Take for instance the yearly starting of school. There are those children who will start school for the first time and that can bring some moments of uncertainty for the child and the parent. This uncertainty can bring emotional moments for the child as he/she has never experienced a classroom setting, but this starting of school for a little one can be emotional for parents as they have reached a milestone in their time of child rearing. Likewise, there is the milestone of graduating from high school. This is an exciting time filled with relief, a sense of pride and accomplishment, and moments of uncertainty. Whether one is going to college or headed straight for a career, the time of graduation brings a sudden change to one's life. Graduation signals the end of the stage of adolescence and a thrust into adulthood—ready or not. The pressure to make decisions and be independent of parental life-support can be hard for even the most "prepared" individual when bills arrive, college demands amass, and tough decisions must be made. Regardless of the details, new stages of life bring about challenges and circumstances to face.
The nation and people of God were no different. After God moved in a mighty way in Egypt, Pharaoh freed the Israelites from four hundred years of slavery. God was moving His people from one stage of their existence to another. Remember, as the descendants of Jacob, the people of Israel were originally in Egypt because famine was so great and the food supply in Egypt provided for their survival. However, that stage ended and gave way to a new stage that would ultimately lead to the Promised Land. After spending forty years traveling from Egypt to the land of Israel, God was now going to lead His people into their homeland—a new stage in their existence. However, before crossing the Jordan River into their new land, the people of God assembled one more time to listen to the Law of God before setting up their new homelands.
During this assembly of God's people, Moses had many instructions from the Lord, but he started by reminding the people of the promise God made to their forefathers so many years ago to bring their offspring to this very place with their population as many as the stars in the sky (Deuteronomy 10:14-22). And, if that promise seemed too distant from the current generation, Moses went on to remind the people about what God had done in their lives, what they had witnessed personally. Moses spoke about how God delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians by sending plagues to torture Pharaoh—ultimately killing Pharaoh's son, the heir to the throne. Moses reminded the people how Pharaoh tried to pursue the Israelites shortly after granting their freedom. Moses recalled how God delivered His people by causing the water of the Red Sea to dam up, creating a wall of water on the left and a wall of water on the right with a dry path for the people of God to walk upon as they crossed to freedom. However, this deliverance for God's people was the destruction of Pharaoh and his army as God did not hold back the water for them and they drowned. Moses also recalled how the people watched personally as God brought down His judgment upon Dathan and Abiram by splitting open the ground of the earth and swallowing them along with their families and property. Moses said, "But it was your own eyes that saw these great things the Lord has done. Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today…" (Deuteronomy 11:7-8a). In other words, Moses told the people to remember what God had done in their lives; remember how He led you, how He provided for you, how He taught you, how He molded you into the person you are today. But, more than just remembering those experiences with God, allow those lessons, those victories, and those times of seeing God do great things propel you to obey him as you step into these new journeys/stages of life.
The same principle holds true for Christians today. Take a look over your walk with God and see where God directed you, provided for you, taught you a valuable lesson, comforted you during a struggle, and even corrected your wrongdoing and know that you can move forward with God into a new season of life. Therefore, because God has proved Himself time and again, you can obey Him as he leads you forward in life through all its twists and turns. Regardless of whether God is leading you to a new job, to college, to marriage, to a deeper relationship with Him, or to a life more focused on Him, He will remain with you and you can follow Him based upon how He has proven Himself in the past. Go ahead, trust God; follow Him where He leads you.
James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years.
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.