Good or Bad, Change Is Inevitable
Every fall the transformation of colors on the leaves reminds me that nothing ever stays the same. In fact, the longer I live, the more I can count on one thing: CHANGE. Whether our changes seem like a nightmare (suddenly losing a spouse) or make us happy (joyfully celebrating a child’s birthday), another change is always lurking around the corner. Many changes, like the ones we don’t invite, have an unsettling way of upsetting our sense of routine, security, and order, leaving us with a sense of powerlessness. They catch us off guard, not asking permission to barge into our lives. In fact, change is the only constant in life. Friendships change, attitudes change, circumstances change, careers change, family dynamics change, kids change, physical appearances change, locations change, passions change.
Hurtful change reminds us of one of the greatest truths in life: loss is inevitable. We don’t like to hear that, especially when we’re in a season we love. But in God’s providence, He determines particular experiences to occur at particular times. For example, Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 3 of a startling reality concerning the certainty of change: “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Solomon continues his dissertation of wisdom with a list of fourteen examples such as, “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to plant and a time to uproot.” That all boils down to one thing for me. Whatever difficult change God has allowed, He’ll see me through with His purpose in mind because after all, He is the Master of time. Solomon made it clear: We can’t expect unchanging happiness in a changing world.
But not all change is bad. In fact, it continues to teach me valuable life lessons. Change helps me grow. When I’m no longer able to change the situation, I’m challenged to change myself. Change helps me prepare. When I encounter one little disappointment after another, then I’m better equipped for the bigger ones to come. And finally, change helps me meditate. When I’m discouraged by life’s unpredictables, then I’m able to reflect on the unfathomable character of God: “For I, the LORD, do not change” (Malachi 3:6). In other words, God declares I am constant. In Me you will always find stability and the promise to carry you through all that’s temporary on this earth, for indeed, nothing lasts forever. When I remind myself that the unchangeable God of the universe is the foundation of my changeable circumstances, I find hope and comfort to endure.
While driving up my driveway yesterday, a host of leaves fell on my car. It reminded me that though I can’t see God, He is all around me. Just like the green chlorophyll in those leaves breaks down and allows us to see the glory of the yellow and orange colors underneath, God’s presence is always close by—perhaps even hidden under the reality of change. Sometimes it just takes the splendor of nature for God to talk to me.