“The Other Side”

Sometimes “the other side” looks so far away, so intimidating, so difficult to cross what lies in your path!

This image of a cow elk and calf looking so intently across the river brought this thought to me. I’m guessing we all identify with those places where “the other side” only produced anxiety and even fear.

Several friends are crossing that river of chemotherapy! It’s daunting for sure! My wife is crossing the “many examinations” to find out why a persistent pain holds on! And example after example are part of our lives.

I find much in the Word of God for such places in life where “the other side” seems overwhelming, where more than once we’ve thought about turning back, or denying what’s ahead, or even running away. Let me point you to some of God’s Word which has lessened the anxiety and set a perspective toward “the other side.”

To start with, these words in Philippians 4.6-7 are strength beyond measure facing what is intimidating.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in the Messiah Jesus.”

Knowing that somewhere in this “crossing” we’re going to be standing in the midst of this river, the truth of these words in 1 Corinthians 10.13 certainly guard our crossing!

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

Sometimes we’re tempted to deny, ignore, or even turn back in fear rather than press on to “the other side.” When the Apostle Paul looked back at what was behind him, things he could have turned to as strengths, he wrote this . . . Philippians 3.8-14,

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing the Messiah Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain the Messiah, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from Law, but that which is through faith in the Messiah, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by the Messiah Jesus.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in the Messiah Jesus.”

What joy is ours knowing our Lord has more for us than we’ve ever imagined as we walk with him, even when it’s intimidating as we look to “the other side.”

Transitions

Transitions are often challenges. Transitions in life, health, friends, our communities pull us often in two directions. One side beckoning us onward to something hopefully better, but in reality an unknown. The other side holding on to us with what we understand and where we’ve fit and found life.

I find this tension very present in these looks at “Prairie Statues” from the great farm areas of our country. They remind us of those solid and reliable days “when the train stopped here.” But, it doesn’t stop here anymore! Things have changed. Transitions!

This image speaks to me. The full moon that is setting in the western sky has run this route long before these days of transition, long before this “Prairie Statue” ever sat in this place, long before the train came, stopped, and now travels on!

Yes, transitions are always upon us, always beckoning in one direction and holding us in another. The place for certainty, stability, steadfastness isn’t in the “Prairie Statue,” or the train, or even the moon. The place of certainty is in the great God whose certainty is eternal, whose glory is eternal, and whose love for us in transitions is eternal! (See John 3.16)

Maybe this look at one of the B&W series will draw you to know that there is a peace that passes all understanding, even in the transitions.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in the Messiah Jesus.

Philippians 4.6-7