Over the course of my life, I’ve had a few occasions where God has ‘redeployed’ me to a new frontline – in fact, since I began my career in the Navy, many of these were actual redeployments! Sometimes we welcome these changes. For example, I was really excited when I was heading off to college and about to embark on that new adventure. Other redeployments are not as welcome. Several years ago, when I learned that my team was going to be eliminated at my company, I was really concerned about what I would do next.
So how should we respond when we are faced with a frontline redeployment? I would offer three suggestions.
First, we should trust that this is God’s doing and not our own, and give thanks to Him for His leading. Our faith tells us that He is sovereign over all things, including where we live and work (Acts 17:26). He has a purpose in moving us from one frontline to another, so we should not be anxious (Phil 4:6-7). Instead, we should eagerly anticipate how He might want to use us on our new frontline.
Second, we should endeavor to finish strong. While I was in the Navy, there was a saying about someone who was about to separate from the service. People said, “He’s short”—meaning, he isn’t going to be with us much longer. The implication was that the person didn’t care about their job anymore, so you shouldn’t expect him to exert anything beyond the minimum amount of effort. However, as Christians, we know that no matter what frontline we have been entrusted with, we are ultimately working for God (Col 3:23). So instead of being “short” we take a “long” view, aiming to finish stronger than when we started.
Finally, I would suggest that church leaders recognize and acknowledge when people are redeployed to a new frontline. Just like in business or the military, it’s a big deal when people are moved from one frontline to another. Some churches periodically will ask during a Sunday service if anyone present is about to change frontlines, such as starting a new job, having a baby, or entering retirement. These people are then invited to stand, and someone from the front will pray that they would glorify God in this new season of life. You might even consider ‘re-commissioning’ them to their new frontline!
When God decides to give us a new frontline, we can trust that He will enable us to be fruitful as we seek to honor Him there.
Chris Lake co-founded the Vere Institute (Oct 2014 – May 2021) to empower Christians to integrate their faith into everyday life, their “frontlines.” Chris continues to serve pastors through offering transitional coaching. You can find him on LinkedIn. The Vere Institute’s legacy lives on through our Vere Library, a republishing of many of their written works.