It was the summer of 2016 and I was leading a student tour to Israel. It was a warm, summer day and the activity for the group on this particular afternoon was rappelling in the Holy Land.
This sounded really fun and our group set out excited for the adventure. We met our guides, pulled on our harnesses, and prepared for the descent.
I watched nervously as the first student leaned back and started walking down the mountain. That student made it down safely.
It was my turn.
I roped up and started the descent. I made it down safely.
Then it was Ryan's turn.
Ryan was a senior, a little over six feet tall, and always up for adventure.
I waited at the bottom and watched as Ryan leaned back over the mountain. He started his descent and about three quarters of the way down something happened and Ryan became stuck.
I did not know what the issue was but there was something wrong with the carabiner or descending mechanism and it would not allow him to go any further. Ryan was stuck in the air on the side of the cliff.
In the end, Ryan made it down safely after the guides had to make a "rescue effort" to fix his carabiners. This experience came to my mind recently as I was teaching on change and transition.
It is the month of May as I write this, and May is notorious for being a month that brings a lot of change and transition. Seniors are graduating and transitioning into college and young adulthood, teachers are ending their school year and thinking about the next year, students are getting excited about summer, and many families are making big life decisions during this time.
Yet, in the midst of transition I think that many people feel like Ryan did on the side of the mountain that day - hanging in mid-air.
Change and transition can bring uncertainty, instability, nervousness, and a feeling of not having control. It can leave you feeling like you are hanging off of a mountain unsure of when it will end!
If there is any comfort in the midst of change it is trust and confidence in the sovereignty of God.
In simple terms, sovereignty means that God is all-knowing - He knows the end from the beginning. It is one of the most comforting things that we can grab on to in the midst of change and transition - when our feet have not landed.
I like to think of God's sovereignty like the rappelling rope. The rope spans the beginning from the end and is taking you to your destination - it is also the first thing that you grab onto when you get nervous or uncertain of the terrain.
Are you in the midst of change and transition? Let this be a simple encouragement that God knows the end from the beginning. Even if you cannot see where you are going or how it is going to end, God does. He has already gone before you and knows the way.
In Isaiah 46:10 God says that He knows the end from the beginning and that He will accomplish his purpose.
So with this in mind, descend the mountain of change with confidence, and grab on to the "rope" if you feel shaky or uncertain.
God's sovereignty is leading you to your destination.