Trail leading into woods

By: Galina Olivera-Celdran, PhD, LPC, LPCS

“On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Mark 4:35

Going to the “other side” is quite a common thing these days. We seem to be on the go all the time – moving to another house, another job or another stage of life. In spite of all the excitement about a new place or a new opportunity, most of us dread the part of “getting from here to there” because it involves changes, losses, and unpredictability. Transition, however, is not simply a necessary evil that gets us from point A to point B; it is an integral part of life. Therefore, we need to develop the ability to deal with the demands and challenges of the transition process.

There were times of transition in my life when I could identify with the disciples in that lonely boat on a stormy night (Mark 4:35-41). I too, was exhausted from “bailing the water” and terrified that the “waves” were going to hurl me into the depths of all I feared the most. I was angry that Jesus did not seem to be aware of my turmoil, “Don’t you care if I drown? First of all, it was your idea to go over to the other side of the lake! I told you it was not a good time and this boat isn’t the best either. I trusted you to direct me safely across the lake. I can’t believe you are sleeping! Can you at least help bail the water?” Even after I felt Jesus was awake to help me through my personal storm, he did not rush to help bail water or mend the leaks right away. He did something bigger and more amazing—he calmed the raging storm with just three words, “Quiet! Be still!” The roaring doubts in my mind suddenly left and a gentle calm reassurance followed.

My storms turned out to be the best experiences for building my character and increasing my faith. I learned to ask for help, to trust God more and to seek Him first in my troubles. I am now able to look at my life and understand that God wants me to become more like Him and become transformed into His image. He uses every situation and every person in my life to accomplish that purpose.

Bringing Hope and Joy

Seeing that change and transition can result in transformation brings me hope and joy. I know that difficult events in my life are not just a random combination of chance and luck but serve a greater purpose that God has for me: “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). By His power, God is willing to fulfill every good purpose of ours, and every good act prompted by our faith (2 Thessalonians 1:11). God accomplishes two things at the same time – He is carrying out His plan in a way that includes fulfilling our good purposes as well. He is not the God that cares only about His will being done, but He “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).

Finally, we find is that it is not only the outward changes (getting a better job or buying a larger house) that bring us happiness, but inward change in our character and attitudes that produce peace and contentment. The beauty of the transformation is best described in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 that “though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day”. This renewal process may not be a comfortable one and it may come with growing pains, but it will ultimately lead to a transformed life.