Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Exception to the Rule is one of the great rules of life. It is a norm upon which you can count.  A great many songs and commentaries have been written about change.  We have all heard the old, clich├ęd quotes: "Nothing stays the same," and, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."  Regardless of which you believe to be truer, change is a topic to which we can all relate.  No one is immune to the changing seasons of life or exempt from the changes those seasons bring.  I happen to believe there are actually three things you can count on in life:  death, taxes, and change.

You could discuss change with a wide-variety of people and get a wide-range of responses.  Some folks thrive on change, feeling a renewed sense of purpose and refreshment to their spirit when it occurs.  They view it as an opportunity for growth and a chance to solve new problems in pliable and exciting ways.  Others dread it like a common cold.  They have more of the, "if-it-isn't-broken-why-are-we-changing-it," mentality.  To these people, change typically brings initial, overwhelming feelings of uncertainty and perhaps even fear.  God has definitely wired us all uniquely and given us individual strengths and weaknesses.  Furthermore, life has more than likely taught these two different groups of people very different things where change is concerned.  This demands understanding by each group and a recognition that some of us are better suited for change than others, just as some of us are better equipped to bounce a basketball than manage a checkbook.

I would fall in the latter group of people and change (I can also manage a checkbook a lot better than play basketball, so I guess I fall in the latter of both above comparisons).  To me, change is typically a nuisance and an interruption.  It feels like I just get used to the way things are in life and I have to start all over again.  Depending on the specific type of change, it can feel that adjusting to it is a colossal waste of energy and time.  Now I am not talking about trying a new food, vacationing to a new destination, or rearranging the furniture in your living room.  Those are simple and fun changes that most of us do enjoy.  I am talking about the kinds of change that require major adjustment, deep thought, or new problem-solving tactics.  During those seasons, it can be difficult to let go of the familiar and add unfamiliar things that the new change requires.  When you are a person who tends to cling to people and things a bit too tightly, there can be some grief involved.  There is always loss felt when something common or comfortable in life is now missing.

So how does a non-change person survive the constant changes life demands?  For starters, we must look to the steadfast, unwavering love, grace, and mercy of God our Father.  God's Word tells us plainly that He never changes--He is timeless.  In James 1:17, we read, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows."  We can also stand firm on the lasting Word of the Lord.  In Isaiah 40:8, we read, "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God endures forever.”  Because God's Word is sound, ageless, and true, we can always look to it for wisdom and guidance in times of change.  We may face broken promises and fickle, dishonest manipulations by others, but God always keeps His promises and He loves us eternally.  In Deuteronomy 7:9, we read, "Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments."  Furthermore, we can trust in the unchanging love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who like His Father, " the same yesterday and today and forever," (Hebrews 13:8).

Perhaps you read these verses and think, "Yeah...well, things are different today, so how does this apply to me?" Well, friend, God's Word says that, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun, " (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  God's unchanging love and eternal Word are as applicable and reliable today as they were in the very beginning.  The problems and challenges people faced thousands of years ago may have looked differently on the surface than ours do today--but they are essentially the same.  God's Son, Jesus Christ, is the One immovable presence in our lives Who we can count on for everything and Who we can trust to always be there.  Change in people and life are the rule--but God is the great exception.  Amen.