Transition times

Published 8:02 am Thursday, August 16, 2018

By the time you read this, the freshmen at Longwood will be coming into town to start their orientations, the schools in Farmville and surrounding regions will have had classes for almost two weeks, and the students of Hampden-Sydney will be a week away from returning to classes. It‘s the start of another school year.

The weather hasn’t changed much — still hot and sticky. But that’s the way it is with transition times. They come on their own schedule, one that often leaves us scratching our heads. That’s what the start of school is — a transition time. A time for students to come back with all of their nice, new tools for learning. A time to get reacquainted with each other as they share what’s been going on in their lives for the last two months. But it is also a scary time.

I can remember starting off a new semester in college and seminary and getting the syllabus for the weeks ahead. I would look at all the work that would need to be done by the end of the term and wondered, “How am I going to get all of this done?” The start of a new school year, transition times, any time of change is scary. It means we have to venture out into the unknown. So many things can go wrong. So much work and energy will have to be expended. There will be some things that will be lost.

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Someone commented that “People don’t fear change. They fear loss.” In the book of Revelation, the resurrected and exalted Christ says “Behold, I make all things new!” We in the church love all of the talk about being made new. But how many of us really embrace that? How many of us really enjoy the process of change?

It’s great for someone else, but when it comes to us, it can make us more afraid than a first-term freshmen looking at their first syllabus. But throughout the Bible God tells frightened people, “Fear not!” And on more than one occasion those words are accompanied by: “I will be with you.”

There is no experience where we are apart from God’s grace. There is no situation where God’s presence will not be there. As Paul reminds the Romans in the last words of the eighth chapter of that letter, there is nothing all of creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. So enjoy our transition time. And remember through your fear that God will not leave you alone.

REV. DR. TOM ROBINSON is pastor of Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at or (434) 808-3038.