Sunday, October 15, 2017

The One Who Never Changes

Change has always been hard for me.  Whether it’s a new job, new living arrangements, or new season in life, getting acclimated to the “new normal” takes me a while. I remember after I finished grad school in 2013, I was out of sorts for a while.  I had been going to college every semester, spring, summer and fall, for 10 years straight, and then that season in my life to suddenly came to an end. I didn’t know what to do with myself, but before I knew it, I adapted, just like I usually do, and found something more valuable to meaningful to invest in: Bible College and church.  Some changes are sudden and some are gradual.  Some changes are easier to deal with; others are much harder to adapt to, like the aging of a parent, the loss of youth, health, and vitality, and the loss of important relationships.  Maybe you never completely adjust to these changes; you just learn how to deal with it, the best way you know how.  But it’s an inescapable fact: change is and always will be a part of life.  I can’t control what happens to me or around me, but I can control how I let it affect me, and I take comfort in God, knowing that He never changes; He is the same yesterday, today and always (Hebrews 13:8), and He promises to be there for me always, through any trial, storm, or change.

There are physical changes that face us all. As I get older, I find myself faced with the subtle changes that come with age: diminished vision, longer recuperating time from illness and physical exertion, and of course the vanity side of aging: more grey hair and wrinkles.  Then there are my health changes that seem to be getting worse with age, namely IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).  I have lived with this for almost 15 years, and it seems to impact the quality of my life almost daily now.  There are days that I look 5 months pregnant because of the severe bloating (thank goodness for loose and flowy tops and yoga pants), and the pain and discomfort becomes almost unbearable. In the beginning it was more manageable, but now I suffer from various levels of pain and discomfort about 85- 90% of the time now.  God bless my patient and long suffering husband, who has had to endure my numerous complaints, feeling helpless as to how to help me, but doing any and all he can to help alleviate my symptoms.  This condition limits many of my activities often, but my husband is so gracious and compassionate in enduring this, because my limits also impacts him.  The most powerful thing he does is pray for me, and this has helped me to endure the toughest of days.  Needless to say, this wasn’t a welcome change, it is my thorn that I have learned to live with, by the grace of God. I take great comfort in God’s words to Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Change can also come in the form of lost relationships.  Sometimes friends will just drop out of your life for no apparent reason, or maybe there is a reason, but they just didn’t share it with you. Even though it may hurt for a while, you tend heal, and accept that they are no longer in your life.  Then there is the loss of a close family relationship that can be very painful, and you just never quite get over it.  Several years ago, when I was disfellowshipped from the Jehovah’s Witness organization, my brother, whom I was very close to, stopped speaking to me. It has been more than 15 years now, but I still miss the relationship we used to have. Perhaps though, more painful than losing the relationship of a sibling, is the loss of a relationship with your child.  It is painful for sure, and I don’t know if it will ever be restored, but I rest assured in the never changing nature of God, and I rely in Him, to understand my pain, and to comfort me during those immense moments of sadness. I take comfort in knowing nothing is too big or too hard for Him to fix, in His will, and in His timing.

Whatever change I am faced with, I hold on tight to my relationship with Jesus.  I have an unexplainable feeling of peace and security, knowing that He will never change. "I the Lord do not change." - Malachi 3:6. His word never changes, His attributes never change, His promises never change, and more importantly, His love for me never changes.  As I read through all of scripture, I see that His nature is the same throughout, from Old Testament to New Testament.  God is consistent and unchanging ALL THE TIME! When there is a change regarding my health, I trust that God, if it is His will, will heal me, in His timing, or He will give me the strength and the means to endure. If it is change regarding the loss of relationships, I trust that He will comfort me in my sadness, restore the relationship in His due time, or replace the lost relationships with new brothers and sisters in Christ.  God is faithful and unchanging and wants the best for his children. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” - James 1:17.  In this world of constant change and chaos, it it awesome to know that there is an unchanging, steady anchor, Jesus Christ, that I can cling to, and He lets me know that through every change, He is right there with me, and that I will be ok.