What unknown terrain have you faced before? What stories remind you of God’s guidance and faithfulness?
I stepped off the plane and felt a wall of heat hitting me. Airport signage in an unfamiliar, curling script pointed the way through security, and people around me chatted in a language I couldn’t understand. In the airport lobby a smiling group of people waved enthusiastically to welcome me. A few minutes later I found myself riding on the back of a motorcycle for the first time, wide-eyed at all the unfamiliar scenes flashing past as my driver whisked me through the traffic to my new home.
This was the beginning of my student missionary experience. I was excited; I knew this was where God wanted me to be. But I was also terrified, knowing that there were many more “firsts” and changes to come. The next 18 months did indeed stretch me as I adapted to a new life. Yet that process ultimately brought me joy and enabled me to experience God in new ways.
Saying yes to God often requires some kind of change. It may be as dramatic as moving abroad, or it may be something much closer to home. But no matter the potential for good, change is still challenging. I find courage for navigating change in several ways.
I look back on my previous experiences, such as my time as a student missionary. Ellen White writes: “As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.”¹ Although she was writing specifically about the Advent movement, I believe the principle can apply to our personal lives too. What unknown terrain have you faced before? What stories remind you of God’s guidance and faithfulness? By remembering my own history, I can see that embracing new experiences with God has led to beautiful growth and opportunities, as well as making me more resilient. Thus, my confidence for the next step grows.
Besides looking back, I also find strength by focusing on what doesn’t change. For example, scattered through-out my journals, or stuck to my walls, are certain Bible verses:
“I trust in your unfailing love” (Ps. 13:5).²
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life” (Ps. 23:6).
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isa. 41:10).
God’s unfailing love and help is a firm foundation I can rest on, no matter what else is shifting in my world. By actively remembering His promises, I experience more peace in times of transition.
If God is inviting you into something new, I encourage you not to fear. Remember your history with God. Remember His promises. And then embrace the change.
¹ Ellen G. White, Life Sketches of Ellen G. White (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1915), p. 196.
² All Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.