In an overwhelming world, God’s love for us is unchanging
"When a train goes through a tunnel, and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer."--Corrie ten Boom (attributed)
Most of us are in a season of change. Whether that change is specific to you--a return to work or a new workplace, a new semester or school year, a marriage or divorce, a breakup, a new family member--or collective--a new season, a return to some normalcy after shutdowns--it can feel as though things never stay the same for long. Not all change is bad, and in fact, plenty of change has positive effects in the long run. The process of change, however, is often unpleasant or uncomfortable, causing anxiety, depression, frustration, and exhaustion.
Sometimes change feels inherently painful, like growing pains in your knees as a child. Other times change is overwhelming, like the emotions that come with becoming a new parent. The first time I travelled abroad, I experienced the disorientation that comes from change of language and culture.
When I moved seven states away to go to college, the change I dealt with was not just change of address, but one of independence and the unfamiliarity of young adulthood. Even my recent move to Hays has meant adjusting to the change of calling soda “pop” and learning that you can get anywhere from Vine Street.
Change is a human reality. All created things experience change. I need not report here the adages about changing leaves or butterflies, but the truth is this: Things change. People change. Circumstances change. In short, change happens.
If change is a reality of human life, then we as humans should not try and just avoid change for its own sake. If we act in fear to try and avoid change, it is like attempting to avoid a wave at the beach--unproductive. It is best to prepare for changes by leaning in and following the change where it takes you--hopefully to the shore.
It would be nice if we could have the changes that come in life without having to suffer through the struggles and discomfort of the process. No growing pains would make change a breeze. However, part of change is the process of growth, the before and after of uncertainty and discomfort, and the formation therein. Our question is how do we ready ourselves for change, and what does God offer us in the midst of change?
When we consider God’s presence in change, we can first reflect on God’s love for all created beings. God’s love for us is unchanging. Wherever we go, and whatever happens to us, God’s love is promised, and that is something we can rely on. When we are unsure and unstable, God loves us. When we are distressed and angry, God loves us. When we are excited and joyful, God loves us. Unlike human affection, which can shift by circumstance and desire, God’s love is deep and unchanging.
Another stabilizing reality to change is the presence of God. In the scriptures, God’s presence is a promised constant, a sure and safe haven. There is nowhere we can go where God is not with us, and even in our best attempts to hide, God waits for our hearts to be ready to receive Him. We may not always feel God’s presence, but God has promised not to leave us or forsake us.
Our final reminder of the shifting nature of everything else and the absolute stability of God is from Psalm 102:
“Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
but you are the same, and your years have no end.”
The Rev. Cana Moore is the pastor of Hays Christian Church.