Change is All Around Us
“For I the Lord do not change.”
There are two guarantees in this life. First, nothing in this life will ever remain the same. The second is that our God will never change. Change is hard, isn’t it? I remember a Taco Bell commercial from the 90’s. The company was highlighting their inexpensive food with the slogan, “Change is good”. My visceral reaction was, “No, it isn’t!”. At the time, I was undergoing many impending changes - preparing for, and overwhelmed by, an uncertain future. That is this temporary age, uncertain change. We know the final ending is an assured victory, but we don’t know all of the changes we’ll endure until then.
Sometimes, the great changes happen almost organically in our midst. As the school year has begun again, many of you are as surprised as I am to have seen your children grow so quickly. How does time go by so fast? How does change happen so naturally? Other times, change occurs more abruptly.
Our church has undergone a few changes in our midst. I remember meeting someone in our congregation who asked me, “Who are you?”. When my reply, “My name is Jake,” did not sufficiently satisfy her, I quickly realized she was asking about my role. “I suppose I’m Mark Wilson,” I replied, to her satisfaction. Mark Wilson served as our Church Administrator and Director of Christian Education. This helped her make sense of the change, but it added a layer of confusion for me. After all, I can never replace the dashing, good-looking demeanor of my fellow elder, Mark Wilson. I don’t have his gifts, I’m limited by my experience, and I just don’t dress as well as he does!
Our church has had many changes over the last few years, both staffing and structural. (We have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of our new Senior Pastor!) Please be patient with us in our change. I realize that some of our changes can make your lives more complicated. We need to hear how you are being impacted, so please share these thoughts with me. Additionally, we need your patience as we seek to try new ways of engaging our community with the Gospel. Our deep desire is to help bring winsome clarity and reverent excellence for those who are new to our church.
In my specialized training with older adults, I have observed that their lives are in a state of perpetual, uncontrollable change. Once we have retired from our long-standing vocations, our identity changes. The sequence of changes that flow from that point have left many to cry, “Growing old isn’t for wimps!”. Even little changes remind us that our lives are subject to large change. The impermanence of being fading grass and worn out flowers may unnerve us. I think one of the hardest reminders of this occurs with the effects of death. Our relationships were intended to last for eternity. The death of loving spouses, parents, family members, and friends leave us longing for more. The visceral reaction, even from the most adamant atheist, is still left in an answerless longing for more.
What do we do, as Christians, with these changes? First, we must not become discouraged or even surprised by them. God’s Word reminds us that our world is full of change. Second, we must turn our hearts to trust in the Lord, Who has laid our firm foundation. Change produces great anxiety for us, yet God’s faithfulness enables us to rest. He disables the flurry of voices that cause us distress and quiets our souls in the certainty of Who He is. Fear not, for “who is a Rock, except our God?”. (Psalm 18.31b)