Endings, Choices, and Redemption


After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.
— Joshua 1:1-2

I'm getting ready to cross over to the other side... literally. Turkey to USA. In just a matter of weeks. The event will be over in less than 24 hours. The process, on the other hand is far from completion. The way of transition...

I've navigated many journeys here and back over the years. But this time it's different. I'm without some of the old, familiar securities as in past transitions. I'm missing a dependable financial base, a place and role by which I've been recognized all these years, and a new community yet to be carved out. It's new and somewhat risky territory. 

What's missing in your transition season? When you find it again, will it look and feel the same? Will you ever find it again, or will it be replaced with something new? Something better perhaps?

Like Joshua and the Israelites grieved the death of Moses, I too mourn the close of a long chapter. Endings are hard to navigate, yet this ending is good and necessary for my growth as a leader and follower of Jesus. I'm sure of it. I'm just not completely comfortable with it. What in your transition is causing some discomfort?


At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
— Ruth 1:14

There are seasons when leaving and staying sort of mingle together. The boundaries are not clearly defined. Like Naomi’s daughter-in-law Ruth, we may do well in opting for greater connection. When given the choice to stay or go, Ruth clung to Naomi and her new-found roots in the community of Gods people. At the same time, she transitioned to a new location. Rootedness and upheaval co-existing together.

This can be a great combination: holding onto key relationships helps us stay grounded while other areas shift. My bet is that Ruth fared better than Orpah because Orpah failed to value the relationship. Orpah said goodbye to everything; Ruth opted for leaving a place but staying connected to the people she loved. It was the commitment to the relationship which ultimately led her to inherit much blessing.

As my leaving draws near, I'm trying to be intentional about staying connected to a handful of people. Lately, I find myself inviting more of my friends to California to visit me in my new environment. Will anyone take me up on the invitation? That's really not the point. I'm telling them how important the relationship is to me, important enough to want to see them again. What are some other ways we can prioritize the relationships even in the leaving phase?


I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.
— Ruth 1:21

Sound familiar? A full life. Full of determination. Full of vision. Full of excitement. Full of hope. 
Then, sometimes rapidly, sometimes gradually, the emptiness takes over. And running on empty is not sustainable for the long term. You went away full, but somehow you've come to this place of emptiness.

Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
— Ruth 4:16-17

Emptiness may be part of what we feel during difficult transitions, but we cannot let it consume nor define us. God and his redemptive purpose weaves its way in and out of transition – unchanged...unhindered.  As the drama of Naomi’s plight unfolds, we trace the sovereign hand of God. She started out empty. She ended up holding a grandson in the lineage of the promised Savior.

Endings are necessary. The choice is ours. And in the midst of it all, God is sovereign. 

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