I have heard it said that everyone is okay with change as long as it doesn't affect them. I find that to be true in so many ways, especially any kind of negative or painful change. What I believe is also true is that one of the very few constants in life is change. We change physically, developmentally, circumstantially all the time. I remember when I grew four inches over the summer between my eighth grade year and freshman year of high school. What I remember most is how painful it was. I think my joints literally went into shock! Although change can hurt sometimes, it can also grow us closer to God and make us look for like Jesus--which is always worth it.
Whether you're a teenager going through growing pains or a senior citizen going through "growing older" pains, trusting in the God who never changes and always keeps His promises is essential to faithfully walking through the countless transitions that life throws at us. There are some biblical principles I believe we can cling to through the changes that happen in life. Here are a couple that have helped me along the way through transitions that I hope to encourage you with. They can be drawn from Abraham's call summed up in Hebrews 11:8.
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and set out for a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, even though he did not know where he was going.
Embracing change requires faith.
Faith is defined in the Bible just a few verses before it is used to describe Abraham's response to God's call as "the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) So faith is rooted in a confidence that what is not seen or fully known is real. God called Abraham to completely change the direction of his life and follow Him. This is similar to the call Jesus made to His disciples when He said, "Follow me" and they dropped everything. By faith, they found hope in this man they would later discover is the Christ they had been waiting for! We must have faith to help us grow in hope of what is unseen in the moment to embrace the changes that happen to us and through us.
Embracing change requires trust.
I believe trust is similar to and complements faith, but it is distinct in the way that trust builds faith needed in a growing relationship. Trusting someone can also grow your faith in their ability to do what they say they're going to do. Faith and trust feed off each other to fuel someone's ability to embrace changes and transitions in life. Pastor Matt said something about trust that stood out to me in reference to Proverbs 3:5 that commands us to trust in the Lord with all our heart. He said, "When we trust someone, we are confident in their reliability." Abraham could have easily trusted himself and walked away from God's call, but he didn't. In fact, the Bible says that his faith was counted to him as righteousness. The outcome of Abraham's faith in God was a trusting relationship with Him. That trust led him to be able to obey a command that would seem crazy to a world that does not have confidence in the reliability of a God they do not know. By faith, Abraham trust God, and what he gained he could never have imagined--an eternal relationship with his Creator. We have to trust through the transition in the One who never changes! Hebrews later says that, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) When life makes us changes, we can view it negatively and trust in ourselves, or we can see it as an opportunity to put our trust in Christ and cling to Him thorugh the change.
Embracing change requires perseverance.
Nothing that was promised to Abraham happened overnight, especially the promise of becoming a father. With that reality comes a principle within transition which is the need to persevere. One of my favorite verses that has helped throughout changing situations is "Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up." (Galatians 6:9) I have needed to be reminded of this often in life, but especially when circumstances have gotten difficult and I am tired of change. I love that Abraham went out, he didn't stay in, and he went out in faith trusting that God is reliable enough to see thorugh it. He persevered, which is why he is listed in the "Hall of Faith."
I believe the second half of Proverbs 3:5 has the key to how we can walk by faith, trusting God and persevering, which is not leaning on our own understanding. Let us put our faith and trust in God, who alone is faithful and trustworthy, unlike us. He alone is faithful and trustworthy to help his followers persevere. Through every challenging transition and change, let's embrace the One that never changes and never lets go. If we do this, it won't matter what comes our way. We will be standing on a firm foundation, which is the rock of salvation found only in Jesus Christ.
Rocky Mayo is the College Minister here at Brook Hills. He has five children with his wife, Jeannette.