What would life be without change? Yet not all change is progress nor is change the only constant as some believe. There are various ways to react to change – embrace and seek it; run and hide from it; deny that it’s happening. Park yourself for a year under a Horse Chestnut tree and you will not be able to escape the fact of change! Each season will come and go – even if you do not accept it, you will be unable to deny the leaves have come and gone. If you are far into denial, the falling conkers may bring you to your senses! Change in the form of the Leaf Miner Moth is now threatening the survival of these trees which can live for 300 years. So yes, for good or ill, change is part of the richness of this life but the way to face it is neither to run from it nor to seek it for mere entertainment – there needs to be a constant foundation to stand upon to come through every possible change that can come in life. If you are not already standing on that Rock, best advice is to look at the leaves changing and find it.
How have you faced the major changes in your life so far? Do you recall the changes between schools? Going from being a child to becoming a teen, a teen to adult? Maybe from being single to becoming a couple with your own family or perhaps from being married to widowed or divorced and remarried with two families? There’s any number of changes that come as those leaves change colour - rich to poor, healthy to infirm, the promotion or redundancy, the new boss or company, employed or retired. How about those other changes – moving house and area, friendships made and lost, middle age, menopause, slowing down with age as the wrinkles become more obvious, even death?
Change is worldwide with increasing pace, impact and volatility. How do these following world views match your own?
- ‘So when you're dealing with an existential threat like death or like climate change, if you see it as 'we are all toast anyway,' then denial is a pretty good way of coping’ – Bob Inglis
- ‘Scientists have demonstrated that dramatic, positive changes can occur in our lives as a direct result of facing an extreme challenge - whether it's coping with a serious illness, daring to quit smoking, or dealing with depression. Researchers call this post-traumatic growth’ – Jane McGonigal
- ‘There is so much inherent drama in the matter of change. Disappointment in yourself and others, coping with the fact that life is essentially shipwreck, becoming a person you yourself could not imagine yourself to be, for good and for bad, and then ultimately there is the basic matter of loss’ – Jane Hamilton
- ‘A lot of things change when one is granted success: random people pop up, and a lot of the adjustments are rough. My way of coping with them is through focusing on the things that I have accomplished and the things that are yet to come’ – Bibi Bourelly
Professor Karen Rodham’s ‘expert advice’ has 12 steps! Within that, she lists the need for acceptance of the change to life that has happened, pacing yourself, using routines, asking for help, having strategies for dealing with stress and learning from others who have had similar changes. As a well-known proverb says, ‘can a leopard change his spots?’ Yet a butterfly has several major life changes! Some have more external changes than others, but it’s who is the essential ‘you-within’ that matters. We all know about the supposed ugly duckling that becomes the beautiful swan – that can happen to you too. You might feel too short and so get some built up heels but it doesn’t change you-within! You might be embarrassed by losing hair and get a wig, but it’s still you underneath! You might feel a bit on the large side and lose a few pounds, but it’s the same you in the same skin whatever the weight.
Look at and listen to your life circumstances for surely another leaf is gradually changing colour. Perhaps another leaf has loosened on the tree and is rustling as it falls to the ground. How would you sum up the Biblical world view on this?
- ‘For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?’ – Psalm 18:31
- ‘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
- ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?’ – Psalm 27:1
- ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever’ – Hebrews 13:8
- ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot’ – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
God does not change in his essential being. His character is always holy, righteous and true. His might is always unparalleled and absolute. His love, grace and mercy to us in Christ Jesus is as high as the heavens. Any change is subject to him and to his permission, to his ‘good, pleasing and perfect Will’. Jesus tells us to build on the rock and not on sand which shifts every tide.
- ‘God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?’ – Numbers 23:19
- ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging’ – Psalm 46:1-3
- ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’ – Joshua 1:9
- ‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal’ – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
- ‘Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does’ – Psalm 145:13
Be sure that your worldview is not a secular one that sees you blown around. Be sure that it is not a temporary one that changes with changing life circumstances. Be sure that your life is built on the one foundation that endures through every change and enables you to navigate with certainty to the one who always watches over you –‘ All may change but Jesus never, glory to his name’.
TAGS – citizenship, hope, progress, advance, fear, trust, joy