In the opening pages of ‘The Hobbit’ Bilbo Baggins receives an invitation to go on a journey. Surrounded by comfort, security and certainty, it came swooping down upon him unexpectedly. This is his crisis moment. It’s Bilbo’s moment of separation from the old, his moment of opportunity for something new. It is in fact, the moment he needs in order to keep going, keep growing.
At the threshold of a crisis moment we can either regress into our same old patterns or let the crisis thrust us onto a journey of transformation. A crisis summons us to cross the threshold. There is both a leaving behind, a separation from the old and an opportunity to look ahead to something new. What do we need to leave behind? Perhaps relationships rob us of life, harmful habits, small minded thinking, distorted perceptions or even a life style that keeps us too safe, too comfortable, too selfish. And what opportunities arise? The prospect of a new direction and new experiences that draw us closer to others, closer to God and closer to discovering our true selves.
In the day of crisis there’s a decision to be made. Do we confront the fear of uncertainty and allow God to bring us through whatever lies ahead, or do we let ourselves be swamped by fear and retreat back into what leaves us in safer territory, but still with unfulfilled longings? Even Bilbo had a whispering in his heart that although life was good, there had to be something more. We are made for a life lived to the full.
Perhaps we’ve forgotten the promise that God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love. Can we dare to let these words find a place to grow in our hearts and then act upon them in our moment of crisis? God can be depended upon. There is no reason to retreat and abandon the One who walks alongside us in the unknown journey ahead. Hope lies in braving the call to journey with God and listen for His directive voice along the way. And when we do this, we discover a deeper understanding of who we are and how great God is.