John A. Braun
When we are comfortable and everything is smooth and happy, we don’t want anything to change. Decisions, our actions or failures, and painful events many times must precede the calm and peace that follow. But once we arrive at that spot of tranquility, we don’t want it to change. But it does.
Forgetting the past is part of our resistance to change, but we also do not want to face the challenges and discomfort of adjusting to a new path and a new direction. But the road we travel is most often an exploration that changes from day to day and not a wayside for us to stay.
Each mile requires something a little different from us. Without thinking about it, we make the necessary adjustments and follow the path that seems so clear before us. Many of the changes don’t alter our paths dramatically. Yet every day brings new challenges, and we adjust.
Some changes we initiate in the hope of preserving our spot of tranquility or improving it. An example is relocation and all the changes that brings. Or marriage. Children. A new job. Education. Our personal daily lives illustrate that change is good, at least if the changes only alter our course slightly or they improve our pathway.
Other changes are uncomfortable and unwanted. They lead us down dark, unexpected, or painful paths. They come from many sources: politics, health, relationships, family. We resist those changes when they come from things we cannot control or prevent. That may be the key to understanding our resistance to change. We resist because we have no control. We must travel the dark valley from time to time. And we don’t like it.
As believers in Christ, we have learned to turn to the Lord and trust his direction though we “walk through the darkest valley” (Psalm 23:4). The painful losses we experience—spouse, child, parent, financial security, health—have taught us that the Lord gives strength, comfort, and courage to move forward. We lean on his staff for support to step into the unknown and unwelcome. In addition, we know that the darkest valley is temporary. The end of our journey is the absence of tears, sorrow, pain, and misery in the eternal home Jesus has prepared for us.
Perhaps in the small changes of life, we forget such comfort. Certainly the Lord hasn’t disappeared or abandoned us. We just don’t think about his constant love for us. That thought struck me recently as I was driving to work at sunrise. The traffic was backed up and there was a pause—perhaps a little frustration within. Then I looked at the horizon and noted the golden sun kissing the tops of the low clouds.
I’ve seen sunrises and sunsets many times before. I can’t even count how many I’ve noticed. But every one was different. Every day the sun greets a changed sky. And at night again it sets and sends its diminishing light through a different set of clouds. We see change every day, actually every morning and every night. Yet the sun remains constant. You know the lesson: God remains beautiful and glorious no matter what the changes may be.
As we face the days ahead, we are easily filled with anguish over what changes await us. But remember: God still sends the sun to shine every day. He is in control. We cannot alter that and would only mess it up if we could. His love is undeserved and deep. He has given us his only Son. He will continue to love and care for us through all the changes ahead.
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Author: John A. Braun
Volume 104, Number 1
Issue: January 2017
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