I experienced it in a series of quiet moments. Walking in the front door in the morning and realizing this would not be “my place” much longer, watching the team execute with competence and compassion but realizing that it wouldn’t continue, and doing routine tasks with an unusual enjoyment but also a sense of finality. Michelle and I had made the decision together. The work was good and valuable and productive, but we both knew that the time had come for something new. It was what I had done for the last six or seven years, my professional identity. And it was ending.

Living with a psychologist I knew the symptoms: grief, loss, a temptation to negotiate an alternate ending. This was the end of a major and fulfilling part of life. A small death.

There was the promise of the next thing, a new thing. But that wasn’t present yet, it wasn’t here. I didn’t live the new thing the way I lived the fading thing. I felt the loss. I didn’t feel the new yet. This was my decision, though. I was able to watch myself walk through it. But that did not make it easier.

As I reflected on my experience, I realized that it matched some of my previous experiences. I had felt like this at the end of my high school years, knowing that I was going onto a new and exciting but unknown thing in college. I felt it again at the end of my college years, and again shortly before I got married, with the understanding that my independent single life was ending in favor of another exciting but unknown married life.

So I started looking for this pattern in Scripture, and I found it there. Abraham had to endure the loss of his life in Ur before he came to the Promised Land. Even after arriving there, he knew that a complete fulfillment of God’s promise to him would take hundreds of years and would outlast his earthly existence.

Jacob fled death at the hands of his brother and spent decades hustling before a nighttime encounter with God changed his view of himself and gave him a new identity.

David, already anointed by Samuel as king of Israel, spent years running from Saul before he assumed his rightful throne.

And the most obvious example of all, Jesus. The creator of all started his human life as the child of a nondescript young peasant couple in the hinterlands of Galilee. He lived in humility and relative obscurity and died a shameful criminal’s death. But all of this was a prelude to his ascendancy to the right hand of the throne of God as Hebrews describes it.

The result of my searching was a surprising sense of peace even as the events of the “small death” continued. I had a context for it. I knew what it was and I knew that it would end. I realized that I could accept the loss and endure the transition, knowing that a better thing was coming. I did not know what it would look like, or when it would come.

I know that it will. I haven’t seen it yet, it’s not here. The end of the story isn’t written. The sense of death continues, but its impression on me is fading. Its yowling insistence on loss is getting fainter. There is a flimsiness to this now that I didn’t see when I first stepped onto this path.

So I wait, but I have good company – Abraham, Jacob, David, Jesus and others, both past and present. They offer companionship and encouragement. I’m not the first one to step through this, and it turned out pretty well for those that were here before. I will wait, and for now live the death before life.

Because of Him, #HopePrevails!

Scott Bengtson

Hope Prevails Book and Hope Prevails Bible Study {hope for overcoming depression}

Depression resources: Hope Prevails and Hope Prevails Bible Study

Available now through book retailers!

Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the new companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.

 

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When a major part of your life ends and the next thing hasn’t presented itself, how do you walk in faith and peace during the transition? #hope #peace #Christianity

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