After Change, Comes Change
Fall is here—September has swept in with a cool blast to remind us that the year of our Lord two thousand eleven is coming into its final quarter.
As our difficult, unusual summer comes to a close, it brings with it a return to normalcy as we know it and, along with this, the almost imperceptible revisions of “normal” that always follow periods of abnormality. With the stretching of our horizons and the refining of our purposes comes this interesting phenomenon that follows unusual times in our lives.
September is an annual season of change—sometimes the changes it brings are more drastic than others. Sometimes September is a month that slips by almost unnoticed as the seasons and emphases in our lives slip from one set of priorities into another; while at other times September is a marked period of shifting…but such is life. Though sometimes seasons of change, on the surface, seem to belong more to the preceding or the following season, they are yet distinct times—if distinct for no other reason than that they are indistinct.
Everything in life changes—ages, seasons, ideas, plans, hopes, fears, health, dreams, sorrows, etc. Change is a part of life on this earth—even if no sin had entered the universe, there yet would have been change as Adam and Eve matured and were fruitful and multiplied as they set about taking dominion over the earth. Change is not an abnormal thing—though sometimes it is treated and feared as such.
Why is change part of the creation order when the Creator is an unchanging being? Our indivisible God is yet a God of diversity. Our God is the Triune God—diverse and yet one; one and yet a plurality. Though He is unified and unchanging, He has created a world of diversity and change. The creation God has made is not static—it is constantly growing, shifting, dying—this is the nature of anything within the confines of time.
Though the whole creation is in a state of fluctuation essentially, there is that which binds it all together as one unified world—there is one thing and one thing only that does not change—God Himself. God transcends the realm of time, bringing unfailing constancy to us in this ever-shifting world though His Word and His Christ. He is the steadfast Rock throughout the fluid course of history.
Apart from Christ, changes from the state of normalcy often bring fear because they are very often accompanied by the fact that things are out of our control or are not working out how we had planned. For this reason, therefore, humility is required to face such times in the strength that comes from above. When times of change descend upon us, we would do well to remember the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but with justice; not with your anger, or you will bring me to nothing” (Jeremiah 10:23, 24).
When important things in our lives or in the lives of those close to us change, we must respond one way or another. The question is not whether we will respond or even so much how we will respond. More than these, the true question is this: “In what ways will we ourselves change in order to keep walking in faith in our God?” Change calls forth change. When God alters our plans and redirects our steps, our attitudes and plans must also be altered and our focus must be redirected—otherwise we are found murmuring against our God.
We are creatures and not God—we cannot and do not remain static. When the situations around us are altered, we adapt in order to respond to those changes. This means that we change when our circumstances change—though it might be imperceptible for a while, at least to ourselves. There are many practical ways that we adapt ourselves to new or different things, thoughts, relationships, responsibilities, seasons, or situations. It is in these responses where we either sin or do righteousness.
It would take more paper than we have in the house to describe all the different responses to change that people can have—therefore, let the briefest and most fundamental thing here suffice. It is by knowing and trusting the unfailing Word of the unchanging God that we discover what should properly be our response to whatever particular things are affecting us. Submission to name of the God who sends the change and to His Word for understanding how we should change to adapt to it is the key to contentment in the shifting sands of time.
After change, comes change. May it be for us as it was for our forefathers: Post Tenebras Lux!