When Change is Hard

Picture this.

You’ve been working hard on something for a while. You found your rhythm. It all makes sense. God’s faithfulness is proving true.

Then you feel a stirring of the Spirit. You really want to ignore it. You want to label it as something else, something less disheartening. But the Spirit comes to help and discern, not pacify and coddle. That’s a hard one to swallow.

I’ve been reading through the Bible this year and recently finished Deuteronomy. The final chapter brought me to tears. The Israelites spent a long forty years in the wilderness. God was faithful to them even through their outright rebellion. Moses was faithful too. He wasn’t perfect but followed without abandon. Deuteronomy 34 tells us “there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt…”

Joshua was the new leader appointed by God to secede Moses. But the people loved and trusted Moses, he had brought them through SO MUCH. They lived a whole life together but now it was time to move on. Who wants that? Nobody. We want status quo and comfort. But Moses couldn’t live forever and God would not let his people become complacent.

So, Moses died. The people could not move forward to the promised land if Moses was still alive. It was a somber but necessary transition. Joshua was ready to lead, but Moses had to give it up and the people had to move on. Seasons change, people die. The Lord and His covenant will always remain.

We also read that God himself buried Moses in the land of Moab, but no one knows the place of his burial. It is widely believed that God did this to keep the Israelites from building a shrine to worship Moses at his burial ground. Let that sink in: our Father knows our tendency to place our trust in things of the world, and although they may be good things, they are not to be worshiped. There’s a difference between proper mourning and prideful pouting.

“And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.” // Deut. 34:8

And there you have it. God encouraged the people to honor the loss and legacy of Moses. They had a really good run. But then we read it plainly: the days of weeping and mourning were ended.

The book of Joshua picks up next. I sense the people of Israel were still struggling with the loss of their great leader and trying reconcile their new reality. The very next thing that God speaks after the death of Moses is this, “Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.” 

God is telling Joshua to GO. Finally, go get the land with milk and honey. This place that was promised to your fathers, it’s yours now. Trust me, cross the Jordan, be strong and courageous. I’m telling you it’s time. That’s the beauty of change. Every story we read in the Bible proves that death doesn’t mean death. It will always lead to life. Old made new… rages to riches. We just have to trust and go. 

We have a duty to follow regardless of emotion. Change is hard. We mourn and remember, but we must move on. God has something for us and although we may not be able to see it through our tears we have to believe it’s there. He uses every bit of grief to solidify growth and bring about the promise.

Let’s listen and follow, let’s get up and go.