Transitions are best understood as ‘change gaps.’
They are those awkward spaces between your ‘Current Situation and your Desired Future. Stepping into the ‘Gap’ requires an act of faith! There are significant tensions, conflicts and challenges in the ‘Gap.’
The ‘Gap’ is a land of mixed emotions, happy and sad, excited and scared, they are not polar opposites in the ‘Gap’, they are blended emotional experiences.
The ‘Gap’ is a bittersweet experience.
Appreciating the importance of the ‘change gap’ in God’s plan for us, it helps us see the joy that is possible for us, even when change brings a sense of loss or sadness.
The ability to live in two different emotions at once is at the very core of discipleship, and the key to turning the page as God’s plan for our church unfolds.
God called Ezra to lead Israel into the ‘Change Gap’:
“10The builders laid the foundation of the Lord’s temple. Then the priests came. They were wearing their special clothes. They brought their trumpets with them. The Levites who belonged to the family line of Asaph also came. They brought their cymbals with them. The priests and Levites took their places to praise the Lord. They did everything just as King David had required them to.
11 They sang to the Lord. They praised Him. They gave thanks to Him. They said, “The Lord is good. His faithful love to Israel continues forever.” All the people gave a loud shout. They praised the Lord. They were glad because the foundation of the Lord’s temple had been laid.
12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family leaders wept out loud. They had seen the first temple. So when they saw the foundation of the second temple being laid, they wept. Others shouted with joy.
13 No one could tell the difference between the shouts of joy and the sounds of weeping. That’s because the people made so much noise. The sound was heard far away.
Pixar, the animation studio owned by Disney, is famous for crafting movies that capture that complex mix of emotions. Think about the heart-rending scene in ‘Up,’ in which a couple’s loving marriage passes by in a minute, or the deep nostalgia of the toys in ‘Toy Story’ remembering the happy days when they were played with.
The animated movie ‘Inside Out,’ does more than capture these emotions, its plot actually revolves around them. The film's main characters are the emotions in a little girl's brain, and the storyline focuses on how to recover joy after a traumatic experience of loss.
Life is filled with disappointments, unfulfilled expectations, and dreams that are never realized. Windows of opportunity are missed and doors to better things are slammed and locked forever. We wish certain events had never happened and miss those times when the road was straight and the future was clear. We’ve seen and experienced days long gone when the church was packed, and at the very center of the community.
Laying a new foundation stirred up deep emotions for the older leaders of Israel. Those who remembered better days wept whilst other shouted for joy. It wasn’t that they were not glad to see the Temple rebuilt; it was an understandable and predictable emotional response of those who, by faith, had stepped into the ‘change gap.’
Mark Twain sums it up best, “Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary. Laying a new foundation was a bittersweet moment, bitter because the new could never compare to the previous, sweet because the new marks a continuance. Life isn’t always sweet but
“The Lord is always good. His faithful love continues forever.”
Grace and Peace,