C.S. Lewis once said this, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Life is always changing. Jobs change, we move to different houses, people come in and go out of our lives, and some join the church triumphant. People get married and have children. We change senators, governors, and presidents. Many of us do not like change. We like things just the way they are, thank you very much. And it is one thing when we make the decision to change vs. when change is foisted upon us. Even in our faith lives, things change. We grow in our faith, our prayer life, and our relationship to the Lord. Sometimes we are pruned and the old is removed and new growth occurs. And there will be a point where we become new creations. Not all change is bad or awful though it may seem like it at the time. But like it or not, change is inevitable.
The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes tells us “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” This is in chapter three. Pull out your Bibles and read the whole chapter if you have a chance. As things change, we have the assurance we do not go through them alone. In both the Old and New Testaments God has promised that He will go with us wherever we go…that He will never leave us or forsake us. Sometimes it is good to be reminded of this because when we get into the throes of change, we sometimes cannot see the forest for the trees!
But no matter what happens there is one constant. Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Everything else in this world may fail, break, or let us down. But Jesus will remain constant, steady, faithful. James reminds us of this as well. James 1:17 tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” When all else seems to be shifting, changing, moving The Lord is a rock for us. Think about the wise and foolish builders. The foolish builder looked for the easiest place to build his house. He found a nice flat place…in the middle of a wadi or wash. It was easy to build. It took very little time, and the man was content with his house. Until the rains and storms came up and the wadi became a raging torrent of water and washed his house away. But the wise builder found a place on a rock. It took hard work to build on the rock, to hew out a place for the house. But when it was done, and the rains and storms came the house stood firm.
When we build the foundation of our lives on the Lord it is like building on the rock. It takes time and it can be hard work. But when storms, rains and changes come we can stand firm in the midst of it all. That is what our faith journey is all about. Things will continue to change. The question is what will we do when the changes come? I picture the lives of the disciples. All of them were minding their own business when Jesus called them to a new life. It was a big change. Their incomes were affected. They no longer went to the same place every night to eat and sleep. They were being taught things they didn’t always fully understand, and they never had a moments peace because of the crush of people that seemingly always surrounded Jesus. Every day was something different, new, and sometimes unbelievable. At the end of three years their lives changed in many ways. They traveled to Jerusalem knowing that Jesus life was in danger. They watched as Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the people treated Him like a king. What might that mean for Him and for them? They saw Him clear the vendors out of the temple and teach on Solomon’s portico. The crowds continued to swell with each passing day. The Thursday of Passover seemed normal enough until Jesus gave new meaning to the bread and wine during the meal. Going to Gethsemane was not unusual but what happened there was. Their lives were turned upside down with Jesus arrest, their fear and Jesus trial. And Friday got even more confusing and chaotic. They had run out of fear…something they were not proud of. They watched from a safe distance as Jesus was led to Golgotha and crucified. This was the Messiah, and now He was hanging from a tree. Messiahs are not supposed to die. They are supposed to save others. Everything changed again and they were bereft. Just as the grief over Jesus death and the death of their hopes and dreams was settling in, the women in their group came running with the news that Jesus was no longer in the tomb. He had risen. And everything changed once again.
But that is the life we lead…one where things change. This is how Paul addresses that. Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Life will continue to change. Some of the changes we will embrace and others, we will fight. But through it all, Jesus will be the one constant in our lives. And that is a good thing!
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W